Russia sanctions should continue, Theresa May says after Donald Trump meeting

January 27, 2017 10:30 pm

US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister walk at the White House in Washington, DC, January 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that Western sanctions against Russia should continue, playing down talk of a possible thaw in the West’s relations with Moscow under US President Donald Trump.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Trump on Friday at the White House, May said the sanctions, which have been imposed against Russia for its alleged role in the Ukraine conflict, would continue until Moscow fully implements the Minsk agreement.
Back in February 2015, a peace deal was brokered by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to end the conflict that has left more than 9,500 people dead and over 21,000 others injured, according to the United Nations.
“As far as the U.K. is concerned on sanctions for Russia in relations to their activities in the Ukraine, we have been very clear that we want to see the Minsk agreement fully implemented, we believe the sanctions should continue until we see the Minsk agreement fully implemented,” said May, who became the first foreign leader to meet Trump. “And we’ve been continuing to argue that inside the European Union.”
The Minsk deal reduced the violence in the restive region but failed to put an end to the conflict.
In the summer of 2014, the United States and the EU imposed a series of sanctions on Russia over allegations that it is arming and supporting pro-Russia forces fighting in eastern Ukraine; a charge that Moscow denies.
In June 2016, the EU extended the energy, financial and defense sanctions against Moscow until the end of January 2017.
Trump’s presidency raised hopes for closer ties between Moscow and Washington, considering that the Republican president had shown great willingness to work with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin
When during the press briefing on Wednesday Trump was asked whether he would lift the sanctions, he said it was “very early” to address the issue.
However, he said he hopes to have a “fantastic relationship” with Putin.
“I don’t know the gentleman, I hope we have a fantastic relationship. That’s possible, and it’s also possible that we won’t,” he added.
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The 45th US president, who was inaugurated on January 20, said under his administration the two countries would maintain their close relations.
He also hailed Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and said Brexit would give British their “own identity.”
“I think when it irons out, you’re going to have your own identity, and you are going to have the people that you want in your country,” Trump said.
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