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Pompeo Is Clear: US will continue imposing tough action against Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Australian Minister for Defence Marise Payne participate in a joint press availability at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University for the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Palo Alto, California on July 24, 2018. (U.S. State Department)
July 25, 2018
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Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, and he was clear that the U.S. will continue to impose tough actions against Russia.

“You come before a group of senators today who are filled with serious doubts about this White House and its conduct of American foreign policy,” began Sen. Bob Corker, the committee’s chair.

He expressed concerns on the “lack of information provided to members of this committee.” He said the goal of Pompeo’s testimony is to “reduce the level of concern” among members of Congress.

Watch the video of the hearing here:

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Stance and Progress on Russia

Pompeo said the Trump Administration will release the “Crimea Declaration,” which formalizes U.S. policy on rejecting Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“The United States reaffirms as policy its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force in contravention of international law,” he said.

Pompeo said President Trump believes “two great nuclear powers should not have a contentious relationship” when the two nations hold more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.

However, he warned: “the administration will continue imposing tough action against Russia in response to its malign activities.”

He added a promise of “severe consequences for interference in our democratic processes.”

The Trump Administration has ended Russian consulates, cut diplomatic staffing, and provided defensive weapons to Ukraine and Georgia. Since the Helsinki summit, Pompeo said the U.S. has added $200 million in security cooperation funds to Ukraine.

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“None of this happened for the eight years that preceded President Trump,” he said.

Pompeo refused to disclose additional details from private meetings with President Trump regarding his meeting with Putin. He maintained that the President has a right to privacy in private meetings.

Pompeo said: “I’ve had a number of conversations with President Trump about what transpired in the meeting,” adding that the president was “very clear” about U.S. positions during his meeting with Putin.

He also maintained that “there has been no change in U.S. policy with respect to our activities in Syria.”

He did reveal that the Trump-Putin talks resulted in agreements to establish a business council, re-establish a counter-terrorism council, and encouraging Russia to develop a political resolution to reduce conflict in Syria.

North Korea and Denuclearization

Of President Trump’s approach toward North Korea, Pompeo said: “Americans are safer because of [Trump’s] actions.”

He said that U.S. and U.N. sanctions will remain in effect until denuclearization is verified, adding “we will not let this drag out to no end” in regard to denuclearization talks.

“I don’t intend in this public setting to share the details of every conversation,” Pompeo said of his “complex negotiations” with North Korea.

When asked specifics of North Korea’s agreement to denuclearize, Pompeo said: “They’ve agreed to denuclearize fully.”

Pompeo said readouts were not provided for meetings with North Korean officials in order to preserve trust with North Korea. He said it was important to maintain privacy to ensure continuing discussions and progress would be possible.

“I’m not going to get into private commitments that were made,” he said.

He admitted “there is an awful long way to go” to achieving denuclearization.

NATO

Pompeo said the NATO discussions were productive, resulting in greater commitments to defense spending and fighting terrorism. He said NATO allies’ defense spending contributions are now higher than ever.

Commitments from NATO allies have also increased, and Pompeo said “over 1,000 additional commitments from allied NATO partners” on their way to assist in anti-terror operations in Afghanistan.

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