Trump Signs Rus­sia Sanc­tions Law, But Slams It As ‘Flawed’

Ex­presses con­cerns about the sanc­tions’ ef­fects on US re­la­tions with Euro­pean al­lies

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Wash­ing­ton: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump grudg­ingly signed into law on Wed­nes­day new sanc­tions against Rus­sia that Congress had ap­proved over­whelm­ingly last week, crit­i­cis­ing the leg­is­la­tion as hav­ing “clearly un­con­sti­tu­tional” el­e­ments.

Af­ter sign­ing a bill that runs counter to his de­sire to im­prove re­la­tions with Moscow, and which also af­fects Iran and North Korea, the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent laid out a lengthy list of con­cerns.

“While I favour tough mea­sures to pun­ish and de­ter ag­gres­sive and desta­bil­is­ing be­hav­iour by Iran, North Korea, and Rus­sia, this leg­is­la­tion is sig­nif­i­cantly flawed,” Trump said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the sign­ing.

The Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress ap­proved the leg­is­la­tion by such a large mar­gin on Thursday that it would have thwarted any ef­fort by Trump to veto the bill. The leg­is­la­tion has al­ready pro­voked coun­ter­mea­sures by Rus­sianPres­i­den­tVladimirPutin,who­ha­sor­dered­big­cuts tothenum­berof­staffattheUSdiplo­mat­icmis­sion­toRus­sia. Con­gres­s­ap­provedthe­sanc­tion­stop­un­ishtheRus­sian gov­ern­ment over in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, an­nex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimea and other per­ceived vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional norms. Trump said he was con­cerned about the sanc­tions’ ef­fect on work with Euro­pean al­lies, and on Amer­i­can business. “My ad­min­is­tra­tion ... ex­pects the Congress to re­frain from us­ing this flawed bill to hin­der our im­por­tant work with Euro­pean al­lies to re­solve the con­flict in Ukraine, and from us­ing it to hin­der our ef­forts to ad­dress any un­in­tended con­se­quences it may have for Amer­i­can busi­nesses, our friends, or our al­lies,” he said. The new sanc­tions mea­sure, the first ma­jor for­eign pol­icy leg­is­la­tion ap­proved by Congress since Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary, in­cludes a pro­vi­sion al­low­ing Congress to stop any ef­fort by the pres­i­dent to ease ex­ist­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sia. In a sec­ond state­ment on the leg­is­la­tion, Trump said that, “De­spite its prob­lems, I am sign­ing this bill for the sake of na­tional unity.”

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