India is planning to purchase five S-400 Triumf air defence systems for around USD 4.5 billion from Russia, which US officials say could be considered as a significant military purchase.
"Will you make a commitment that you'll help (Defence) Secretary (Jim) Mattis get the waivers that he needs in order to make sure that these sanctions don't hit folks that were not intended to be harmed by these sanctions?" Pompeo asked Senator Robert Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing yesterday.
Pompeo was referring to the letter written by Mattis to the Congress in which he has sought waiver for certain countries from CAATSA legislation, which was signed into law by the US President Donald Trump in August 2017.
Under this any significant purchase of military equipment from Russia would attract American sanctions.
Mattis recently wrote a letter to the Congress seeking waiver for certain provisions.
"I know it's not my day to ask questions, but it is my day to ask for things that I think we need," Pompeo said.
Menendez, a strong advocate of CAATSA sanctions, urged Pompeo to go ahead with the sanctions. He remained non-committal to waiver move.
"I have to see the specifics of what Secretary Mattis wants," said the Democratic Senator from New Jersey.
"I also have to say, if we're going to allow countries that are sanctioned, because we believe in the sanctions policy, and they want to get off the hook because there's some other benefit, well then we begin to erode the sanction policies and we pick and choose. And other countries will seek the same questions. I'm open to listen to it. But it has to follow, in essence, what our policy is trying to achieve," Menendez added.
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