Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Tillerson to Testify in House as Russia Sanctions Vote Nears

Tillerson to Testify in House as Russia Sanctions Vote Nears

The working to stabilize its relationship with Russian Federation, which is "at an all-time low", U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.

Echoing views of the majority of members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chris Murphy said to many people who follow USA foreign policy, the withdrawal of American leadership from the world in the first several months of the Trump administration looked deliberate.

"Even with reductions in funding, we will continue to be the leader in worldwide development, global health, democracy and good governance initiatives, and humanitarian efforts", Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday.

Tillerson said a review of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to determine how to reorganize them, was under way and he expected to have a plan for reorganizing the State Department at the end of 2017.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told senators Tuesday the Palestinian Authority intends to "cease the payments" to families of prisoners serving sentences for attacking Israelis.

In the committee hearing, Tillerson also stated that United States' Policy is of greater economic openness and was providing financial support to a "very oppressive regime" in Cuba. "The world has changed dramatically", Tillerson said as he defended proposed State Department cuts of about 30 percent.

"I think we'll write our own budget", he said, calling the proposal "an approach to American foreign policy that is nothing less than a devastating assault on America's interest and values".

But Tillerson said he was involved in writing the President's Rose Garden statement on Qatar "to reflect the strong message he wanted to send", and insisted, "there is no daylight between he and I".

They had very few three-pointers to speak of; in other words, they were the opposite of what the NBA is supposed to be today. In fact, not only do they have deficiencies, but they do not even have the tools or resources to resolve those deficiencies.

"They could perhaps be labeled differently", he said, suggesting the description "martyr" could be dropped, but he added: "They are not going to be stopped".

Tillerson, testifying in one of several budget hearings this week in Congress, had said that both he and President Donald Trump raised the issue during their visit to the West Bank last month.

Issa Karaka, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, told Haaretz that the payments have been made this month and will be made next month.

At the same time, there are 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including 500 detained without charge, in some cases for years.

Israeli officials said they had seen no evidence that the Palestinian Authority was stopping support.

"We follow this closely", Lieberman said on Israel's Public Radio on Wednesday. "As of this moment I have seen no cessation and no intention to stop paying the terrorists' families".

In the past, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been reluctant to halt the payments, fearing a popular backlash.

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