Haley: New sanctions near on Russia
Washington — The Trump administration signaled Sunday that it will impose new sanctions as soon as this week on Russia for supporting the Syrian regime as it allegedly conducted a deadly chemical attack against its own people.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Sunday announced the sanctions and President Donald Trump’s commitment to staying involved in the Syria crisis, hours before French President Emmanuel Macron took credit for helping turn around Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops.
“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying that the United States would disengage from Syria,” Macron said Sunday. “We convinced him that it was necessary to stay there long-term.”
Haley, speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” suggested that there are no plans to pare down the U.S. presence in Syria anytime soon. On Fox News Sunday, Haley said troop withdrawal would come after three goals had been accomplished: defeating Islamic State militants, ensuring that chemical weapons will not be used and maintaining the ability to watch Iran.
The aim, she said, is “to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things.”
The White House on Sunday did not immediately address Macron’s comments, made during a televised debate with two journalists.
Haley, the administration’s most prominent diplomatic voice until a new secretary of state is confirmed, said the new round of sanctions will target Russian companies that have helped the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad make and deploy chemical weapons. A suspected chemical weapons attack April 7 spurred the United States and its allies to launch more than 100 missiles at Syria over the weekend after.
“You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down,” Haley said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “will be announcing those Monday, if he hasn’t already,” she added. “And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use. I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”
Haley has been one of the strongest voices accusing Russia of enabling the Syrian government in its use of chemical weapons in the civil war, which is now in its seventh year. Russia has vetoed at least six resolutions in the U.N. Security Council regarding chemical weapons. The Russian vetoes have been one of the main irritants in strained relations between Washington and Moscow, with Western diplomats accusing Russia of trying to protect the Assad government.
The Trump administration has placed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, including penalties targeting Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin. The rollout of new sanctions is usually guarded, in part to prevent people subjected to them from quickly moving their money around.