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US Senate passes new Russia sanctions

18 Juin 2017

But Mr Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, says he agrees with members of Congress who want Russian Federation held accountable for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Tillerson previously has said the USA would maintain sanctions against Russian Federation until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented, and Washington and European allies have always been united in demanding so.

Issa Karake, Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, called the payments "a national, social and humanitarian duty".

Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), accused Hamas on Monday.

Halting the payments to families of assailants, or "martyrs", is one of the preconditions that Israel demands before it would agree to renew the peace talks with the Palestinians.

"I have yet to have a bilateral, one-on-one, a poolside conversation with a single counterpart in any country: in Europe, Middle East, even South-East Asia, that has not said to me: please, address your relationship with Russian Federation, it has to be improved", Tillerson said on Tuesday during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations.

"They have changed their policy, at least I have been informed they've changed their policy", Mr Tillerson said.

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Palestinian officials stated on Wednesday that they have no intent to stop these terror payments. "We have been very clear with them that this [practice of paying terrorists] is simply not acceptable to us".

The secretary of state claimed on Tuesday that the Palestinian government had given him assurances that it was no longer providing aid to terrorists and their families, a statement that raised confusion in the region and prompted pushback.

But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and another senior official said that they have not seen "any indication" that the PA has stopped or intends to stop payments to terrorists and their families, expressing skepticism over Tillerson's declaration.

Tillerson said he'd replied that payments "as recognition of violence or murder" is unacceptable to Americans. He said North Korea would top the agenda at next week's high-level talks between US and Chinese officials.

Just after that May 3 meeting, Tillerson had a "more detailed" meeting with Abbas.

"It is outrageous and offensive that Secretary Tillerson would even suggest appointing a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism is unnecessary, particularly given that his State Department committed to filling the post back in April", she told JTA.

"There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them", said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.