US House panel votes sanctions on Syria energy sector

March 7, 2012 22:19

WASHINGTON - A US House committee on Wednesday voted to impose new sanctions on Syria's energy sector and called for referring its president, Bashar Assad, to a war crimes tribunal.

The legislation would help bring about Assad's downfall by "tightening the financial noose around Assad's neck - already tied very tight by the Obama Administration," said Representative Howard Berman, a Democrat who co-sponsored it.

The bill must pass the entire House and Senate before US President Barack Obama would decide whether to sign it into law. The outlook for passage in the House is good, considering it has bipartisan support; the chief House sponsors are House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrat Eliot Engel. In the Senate, similar measures have been proposed by a Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand.

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