By Kamila Aliyeva
The U.S. administration is determined to consistently and proactively implement the law on tightening the regime of unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.
This was stated by U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker at a hearing in the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress on November 8, TASS reported.
"We are very consistent in our sanctions efforts against Russia... We are also working steadfastly to fulfill the requirements of "Law on Counteracting America's Enemies through Sanctions"... and we are making essential guidelines for action [for the business community] which will continue to tighten the sanctions regime against Russia. This is an effort in which we will need to maintain consistency in order to enforce [business sanctions], and we are extremely committed to it," she said.
Mandelker oversees financial intelligence and issues of combating the financing of terrorism.
The law mentioned by her actually shackled the hands and feet of U.S. President Donald Trump in terms of using the powers that enable him to soften and abolish the already existing restrictive measures against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The law provides that the head of the U.S. administration will be able to take such steps only with the permission of the Congress.
It is possible to completely eliminate the toughened sanctions regime only by adopting a separate law for this purpose, which will require considerable effort.
The current executive branch of the U.S. government, led by Trump, was categorically opposed both to such attempts on his authority, and to giving the new power of anti-Russian sanctions to the law.
Meanwhile, a new meeting of Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is expected to take place soon. They will meet in Vietnam on Friday, November 10, according to Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov.
Ushakov earlier said that Putin and Trump could discuss at the meeting in Vietnam on the sidelines of the APEC summit the situation in Syria and on the Korean Peninsula and bilateral relations, which have reached a low point.
President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, saying he wanted to improve ties with Russia. Putin also spoke favorably of Trump.
However, the ties have been damaged by accusations from U.S. intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the presidential election. Moscow has denied the accusations.
Trump in August grudgingly signed off on new sanctions against Russia, a move Moscow said ended hopes for better ties.
At the same time, Moscow ordered the U.S. to reduce the number of its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia to 455 people. In response, the U.S. embassy in Moscow announced that non-immigrant visas will no longer be issued in the three U.S. consulates across the country, beginning on August 23.
At the moment, visas in these three consulates are issued with restrictions - only to those citizens who do not need to pass an interview, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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