(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The U.S. designated on Wednesday the Syria International Islamic Bank (SIIB) "for acting for or on behalf of the Commercial Bank of Syria and providing services to the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank," both of which are subject to U.S. and international sanctions.
The Department of Treasury said in a statement that SIIB "has acted as a front for the Commercial Bank of Syria, which has allowed that ban, Syria's largest commercial bank, to circumvent sanctions against it by the United States, the European Union and the Arab League." In this regard, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement "today's action will add to the economic pressure on Assad regime by closing off a key evasion route."
He stressed that the "Treasury Department, working with others around the world who share our goal of ending the brutal repression of the Syrian people, will continue to close off the Assad regime's access to the international financial system." SIIB was established in Damascus in September 2007 and has 20 branches and three representative offices throughout Syria.
The Treasury noted that it is "working closely with partners in the international community to isolate the Assad regime from the international financial system." It added that "with respect to today's action, the U.S. Government consulted with the Government of Qatar on the designation of SIIB, and the Government of Qatar is taking corresponding actions."
"We commend the Government of Qatar for its important regional and international role in maintaining economic pressure on the Assad regime," it remarked.
It indicated that "today's action does not target the Qatari investors who hold investments in SIIB." The Treasury indicated that on June 6 it will host in Washington the second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions.
It said that the meeting, "which the United States will co-chair with the governments of Turkey and Qatar, will focus on ways to further strengthen international sanctions against the Syrian regime."