Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday that he hopes the impending sanctions against Russia will not be necessary in the long run and that the two countries will cooperate on global issues in the near future.
“The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States,” Tillerson said. “We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary.”
“We will work closely with our friends and allies to ensure our messages to Russia, Iran, and North Korea are clearly understood,” he added.
Tillerson’s comments came hours after the White House announced that President Trump will sign the Russian sanctions bill that passed with overwhelming support in both the Senate and the House and faces a possible veto override if Trump rejects it.
Until Friday night, the White House had been relatively quiet on the bill, which gives Trump less say in the implementation of the measures in comparison to prior sanctions packages. The legislation takes aim at Russia over an cadre of actions, including interference in the 2016 election.
“President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday night. “He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill, and intends to sign it.”