Tillerson warns against steps that cut off talks with Russia

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"By codifying existing sanctions and requiring congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them, we are ensuring that the United States continues to punish President (Vladimir) Putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions", said Sen.

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

A day earlier, Tillerson told senators at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the policy had changed. In this, Washington will seek the assistance of other countries, Tillerson said. "They are extremely complex in many regards", he said.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said the budget "effectively withdraws American leadership around the world, pushing the door open for Russian Federation and China to increase their scope of influence".

"The entire world has no idea where we stand with respect to the dispute between the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Qatar", said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a foreign relations committee member.

We're going to punish the Russians.

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Tillerson was responding to Representative Eliot Engel, the committee's ranking Democrat, who asked if it was in the US interest to relax sanctions on Russian Federation before it fully complied.

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US President Donald Trump (right) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) in the Oval Office of the White House on May 3, 2017.

"This is really just the wrong message", said Sen. "What comes out of Congress is likely not going to resemble what is being presented today".

"We have made formal requests to the State Department to brief us on the reorganization".

At the top of the agenda for Tillerson's multiple hearings is the Trump administration's controversial worldwide affairs budget, which as FP reported, would gut State Department and USAID funding and potentially even tee up a plan to fold that agency into the State Department entirely. Attaching payments as recognition of violence or murders is something the American people could never accept or understand.' So we will continue this dialogue with them.

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The proposed budget released last month would eliminate all funding for climate-change programs and for two prominent institutions in Washington, the U.S. Institute for Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Tillerson had argued unsuccessfully that the United States should remain a part of the agreement, to maximize USA leverage.

Trump's plan for the fiscal year beginning in October features a stark decrease in non-military US government engagement overseas as the administration pursues Trump's "America First" world view.

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