Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Tillerson warns against steps that cut off talks with Russia

Citing alleged Russia's "interference" in the 2016 presidential election in the USA, as well as the situations in Crimea and in Syria, the senators say they want new sanctions imposed on Moscow. Asserting that the world has changed dramatically, Tillerson said the U.S. will have a "very open" and "honest conversation" with its allies about how to share their burden which they have been carrying. "We're not going to set this burden down", Tillerson said.

"The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria", said Republicans and Democrats on the committees. "We've got to take new approaches that engage other countries who should share our same objectives for their part of the world".

Tillerson told a Senate hearing on Tuesday he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs.

"I'm deeply concerned with the direction that President Trump appears to intend on taking our country and the world with it", Sen. The Obama administration previously presented the an advocate for Ukraine's sovereignty and demanded that Russian Federation cease its occupation of Crimea as well as its support for armed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

"We've taken the position to the Palestinian Authority in a very unequivocal way: You either take care of this yourself or someone else will take care of it for you", he went on.

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But within hours of Mr Tillerson's statement, both Israeli and Palestinian officials said he was wrong.

Israel on Wednesday poured cold water on the US Secretary of State's announcement that the Palestinian Authority has agreed to stop providing financial support to the families of convicted terrorists.

Some Democratic members are also fuming at the silence they've received from Tillerson, particularly amid reports the former ExxonMobil chief plans to reorganize the State Department.

He added later, "I think we're really leaning in to USA leadership" to illustrate "we're going to continue in this leadership role, but you, our allies, must do your share". And every leader has to express it to their own people in their own way. "And I had a bilateral meeting with [Abbas] later and I told him - you absolutely have to stop this".

"It is the Department of State and myself (who are responsible for conducting foreign policy)", Tillerson said.

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