President Obama signs determination to waive certain arms export restrictions

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a presidential determination on Monday that exercised his authority to waive certain restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act.

Caitlin Hayden, the White House National Security Council spokesperson, issued a statement about the presidential determination on Monday. She said the action will give the U.S. government the ability to provide or license, where appropriate, certain non-lethal assistance related to or inside of Syria.

The non-lethal assistance includes chemical weapons-related personal protective equipment to international organizations, such as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The assistance also includes chemical weapons-related life-saving assistance for organizations implementing U.S. Agency for International Development or Department of State programs to improve the ability of local Syrian healthcare providers to prepare for or respond to use of chemical weapons.

The determination also enables the provision of chemical weapons-related personal protective equipment and training to certain vetted members of the Syrian opposition, including the Supreme Military Council. The training and equipment is meant to protect against the use of chemical weapons.

Hayden said the action is part of ongoing efforts to give life-saving chemical weapons-related assistance to people in need in Syria.

The statement came on the same day that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed the use of chemical weapons during an attack in Damascus on August 21.