US President Donald Trump is considering implementing new sanctions against Russia and Iran, the US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley has said in an interview with CNN.
Speaking to Jake Tapper, the host of the State of the Union show, on Sunday, the US official said that the issue of the new sanctions is already being discussed.
“I think that’s conversations that he [Trump] will be having and have started to have, going forward. But I think he will have to look at the situation,” Haley told the CNN host when asked whether Trump “wants tougher sanctions on Russia and Iran.”
Nothing “is off the table at this point,” she added.
The discussions are linked to the situation in Syria, she said.
“You saw this terrible tragedy on innocent people, a lot of them children, and the first reaction from Russia wasn’t ‘how horrible,’ it wasn’t ‘how could they do this,’ it wasn’t ‘how did this happen,’ it was: ‘Assad didn’t do it.’ Why was that the reaction?” Haley said.
The US ambassador to the UN went on to suggest that such a reaction from Moscow prompted “the investigation on Russia.”
Earlier this week, AP reported, citing US military officials, that Washington launched an investigation into whether Russia is linked to the suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib, which the US claims was carried out by Damascus. The reported investigation follows Moscow’s condemnation of the US missile strike on the Syrian airfield.
On Friday morning, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from its warships in the eastern Mediterranean, targeting Syria’s Shayrat airbase near Homs. The strike was in response to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib Province, where dozens of civilians reportedly died from suspected gas poisoning. Washington blamed the Syrian government for the incident, saying chemical weapons used in the alleged attack originated from the airfield.
“We’ve seen the evidence on Assad, we know exactly what happened,” Haley claimed.
However, the Russian Defense Ministry said “no evidence whatsoever” has been presented by Washington to prove that the Shayrat airfield had any chemical weapons.
Dozens of representatives of the media, local authorities, and emergency services have visited the airfield since the attack, with no alleged “storage units” or chemical weapon shells being found, the ministry said in a statement, calling on a mission of professional experts to be sent to the air base.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russia of “failing” to “live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements” in relation to the current situation in Syria.
“The failure related to the recent strike and the recent terrible chemical weapons attack in large measure is a failure on Russia’s part to achieve its commitment to the international community,” Tillerson said in an interview aired on ABC on Sunday.
But, he added, there is no “hard evidence that connects the Russians directly to the planning or execution of this particular chemical weapons attack.”
Talking with ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos, the official, who is set to visit Moscow April 11-12, said he would “call upon Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian government to fulfill the obligation it made to the international community when it agreed to be the guarantor of the elimination of chemical weapons.”
When asked about Washington’s anti-Russia sanctions, the US Secretary of State said “there is no reason to be lifting sanctions.” Those were put in place over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea, Tillerson said, adding that until the issues in that region are addressed, “sanctions will remain in place.”
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