Obama: National emergency with respect to Syria will continue

U.S. President Barack Obama submitted a message to Congress on Tuesday to continue the national emergency with respect to the actions of the Syrian government.

The National Emergencies Act provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency, unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to Congress a notice stating the emergency is to continue beyond the anniversary date. President Obama submitted the notice to the Federal Register for publication that the national emergency will continue beyond Saturday.

Obama said Syria's actions and policies, including the pursuit of biological and chemical weapons, continue to pose a significant threat to security.

"The regime's brutal war on the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, endangers not only the Syrian people themselves, but could yield greater instability throughout the region," Obama said. "The Syrian regime's actions and policies, including pursuing chemical and biological weapons, supporting terrorist organizations, and obstructing the Lebanese government's ability to function effectively, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."

Obama said that as a result, he has determined the need to continue in effect the national emergency with respect to the threat of Syria's government and maintain in force the sanctions to address the national emergency.

"In addition, the United States condemns the Assad regime's use of brutal violence and human rights abuses and calls on the Assad regime to stop its violent war and step aside to allow a political transition in Syria that will forge a credible path to a future of greater freedom, democracy, opportunity, and justice," Obama said. "The United States will consider changes in the composition, policies, and actions of the government of Syria in determining whether to continue or terminate this national emergency in the future."

Previous executive orders were filed to declare national emergencies with respect to the Syrian government on May 11, 2004, April 25, 2006, February 13, 2008, April 29, 2011, May 18, 2011, August 17, 2011, April 22, 2012 and May 1, 2012.