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MOSCOW, July 26 (Itar-Tass) - Chairman of State Duma’s foreign policy committee, Dr Alexei Pushkov has urged members of the U.S. Congress to stop speaking with Russian in a language of sanctions as they are doing their best to change the situation around the fugitive CIA officer Edwards Snowden, who is compelled to stay in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
“I don’t think it’s worthwhile speaking to Russian in a language of sanctions,” he told Itar-Tass in a comment on an initiative forwarded by Senator Lindsey Graham, who has introduced a legislative motion to impose a trade and economic against the countries that choose to grant political asylum to Snowden.
“Even if an amendment of this kind is passed, the U.S. will scarcely make Russia change its policy,” Dr Pushkov said. “Decisions on granting political asylums in Russia to whomever are taken in the Kremlin, and not in the White House and everyone should proceed from this reality.”
According to the U.S. media, “the measure introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham demands the State Department coordinate with lawmakers on setting penalties against nations that seek to help Snowden avoid extradition to the United States.”
“The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Graham's measure unanimously by voice vote Thursday after it was included as an amendment to next year's foreign operations bill,” the CBS said in this connection.
In essence, Lindsey Graham’s initiative mirrors the notorious Jackson-Vanik Amendment /JVA/ that was formally revoked earlier this year, and hence it runs counter to the interests of U.S. businesses in the first place.
“The situation where one hand repeals the JVA and the other hand signs a law on new trade sanctions against Russia is highly illogical,” Dr Pushkov said.
He called on the Russian side to offer a calm reaction to the situation and to refrain from speaking about whatever reciprocations. “This is a yet another initiative of the radical anti-Russian senator and I hope the U.S. Senate’s majority is looking at it skeptically.”
In the meantime, Senator Graham’s press secretary Alice James told Itar-Tass the bill has a very short text measuring just one passage. It contains an instruction of the Secretary of State, John Kerry to take counsel with the Congress committee on a possible application of sanctions to any state that may grant asylum to Snowden.
The penalizing measures may include a revoking or suspension of trade privileges and preferences, the bill says.
It has been issued in the form of an amendment to the bill on budgetary allocations for foreign policy in the 2014 fiscal year.