World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. lawmakers seek bar on Russia's state arms exporter
Three U.S. senators said they would introduce legislation to punish Moscow over the Ukraine crisis by banning any use of U.S. funds for contracts or agreements with the Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
Three U.S. senators said they would introduce legislation on Thursday to punish Moscow over the Ukraine crisis by banning any use of U.S. funds for contracts or agreements with the Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
The "Russian Weapons Embargo Act of 2014" would immediately end existing contracts and agreements with the Russian company and forbid the use of U.S. tax dollars to enter agreements with it. It would also prohibit contracts with any U.S. or foreign company that cooperates with Rosoboronexport to design, make or sell military equipment.
Saying they are frustrated with President Barack Obama's reaction to Russia's actions in Ukraine, many lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have been calling for stricter sanctions against Russian industries and companies than those announced by the Democratic administration, and said they should be imposed more quickly.
The U.S. Defense Department buys Russian helicopters for Afghanistan as part of a $1.1 billion contract with Rosoboronexport.
In a column in the National Review, U.S. Senator Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican and one of the bill's co-sponsors, noted the company provides arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad's forces have killed thousands of civilians during a three-year-old civil war against rebels seeking to oust him from power.
"Using taxpayer funds to buy Russian equipment was objectionable when it began, became more objectionable as the Russians continued to supply Assad, and now is entirely unacceptable," he said.
The other sponsors of the bill are Texas Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
President Barack Obama extended some economic sanctions against Myanmar for another year on Thursday, telling Congress the step is needed despite some progress on reforms made by the country formerly known as Burma.
Obama notified leaders of Congress in a letter that he was renewing for another year the National Emergencies Act, which prohibits U.S. businesses and individuals from investing in Myanmar or doing business with Myanmar figures involved in repression of the democracy movement since the mid-1990s.
Obama, who visited Myanmar in 2012, said the Myanmar government had made advances in critical areas such as the release of more than 1,100 political prisoners, progress toward a nationwide ceasefire, the legalization of unions and taking steps to improve the country's labor standards.
However, he said, "Despite great strides that Burma has made in its reform effort, the situation in the country continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."
"The political opening remains nascent, and concerns persist regarding ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine State, and the continued role of the military in the country's political and economic activities," Obama said.
A year ago Obama lifted a 1996 ban on granting U.S. entry visas to Myanmar's military rulers and their business partners and immediate family.
A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Patrick Ventrell, said significant challenges remain in Myanmar including a dire humanitarian situation in Rakhine state and incidents of violence toward Muslims and other minorities.
He said Obama extended the penalties for another year "in order to maintain the flexibility necessary to sanction bad actors and prevent backsliding on reform even as we broadly ease sanctions."Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2014, 10:12