Tillerson: PA has "changed policy", will stop paying terrorists' families

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushed back against criticism from the Senate foreign relations committee on Tuesday, admitting that the budget had "necessitated hard decisions", but adding later in the hearing that "funding does not equal results".

However, his claim was quickly denied by the Palestinians themselves. The official went on to emphasize that "the Palestinian Authority continues to praise, incite and encourage terrorism with these payments".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled the US could ease off demands that Russian Federation abide by the Minsk agreement to end the conflict in Ukraine, telling lawmakers that the administration doesn't want to be "handcuffed" if Moscow and Kiev can settle their dispute another way.

"How can Americans and our allies around the world have confidence in your word, in the State Department's position, and most of all, that it represents what President Trump believes?"

USA and European officials often have voiced dismay on the absence of progress on implementing the specific points of the Minsk agreements, which include holding local elections in Ukraine's breakaway Donbas region and returning the border with Russian Federation to Ukrainian control.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of OH, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said Trump's failure to act could embolden Russian Federation and lead to interference in future USA elections.

She was saying, "We should not look to America to carry us on their backs every step of the way", Tillerson said.

"Essentially, we would ask for the flexibility to turn the heat up when we need to, but also to ensure we have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue", Tillerson said.

The officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said Wednesday that they have not seen a change in the P.A. policy.

"There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them", said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The measure sets up a process for Congress to review changes in sanctions, puts into law actions previously established via presidential executive order, imposes new sanctions on Russians found guilty of human rights abuses or conducting cyberattacks. He said that during his visit to Bethlehem, the Palestinians had told him they have to support "widows and orphans". I said, 'Widows and orphans is one thing.

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

Several senators planned to question Mr Tillerson even more closely about his view of relations with Moscow. "I have been informed they've changed that policy and their intent is to cease payments". "I would advise everybody to be very suspicious of any such promise coming from thee Palestinians". His statements left members of Congress confused as to the exact status of these payments.

Lawmakers further pressed Tillerson to address concerns that worldwide inspectors affiliated with the global Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, have been unable to certify that Iran has ceased all nuclear weapons work.

The Trump administration has sought to increase pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile activities. "What Tillerson said is not correct".

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