Tillerson warns against steps that cut off talks with Russia

One day after Israel said it is not aware of a change in Palestinian policy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated today the private assurances he received from Palestinian officials that they would be ending their monthly payments to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists convicted in Israel of murder. "They have changed their policy, at least I have been informed they've changed that policy", he said during a Senate budget hearing.

Tillerson also told the Committee that U.S. relations with Russian Federation are at an "all-time low" over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has never seen a response from countries like they're seeing now because of this pressure that has been put on others", he said.

Asked whether China has been fulfilling its pledges to put more pressure on North Korea, Mr Tillerson said: "They have taken steps, visible steps that we can confirm". French officials have said Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change accord, among other actions, is part of a deliberate reordering of post-World War II expectations.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a statement endorsing the package, based on the lie that the Democrats lost the election because of the mythical Russian interference.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chalked up Tillerson's noncommittal to incompetence rather than malevolence, saying that the administration hasn't "gotten into the finite details".

"We're all going to carry this burden".

The US policy of greater economic openness was providing financial support to a "very oppressive regime" in Cuba.

Engel said the approach suggested by Tillerson would send the wrong signal to Russian Federation.

Tillerson told lawmakers both he and President Trump raised the issue during their visit to the West Bank last month.

The administration is asking for $25.6 billion for the core budget of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), plus $12 billion for overseas contingency operations. The State Department budget represents about 1% of total government spending. "He said he will continue the payments".

"My concern today, quite frankly, is that your Administration will go down in the history books as being "present at the destruction" of that order we have worked so hard to support and that has so benefited our security and prosperity and ideals", Cardin said.

The budget would eliminate funding for the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, as part of a $780 million cut to global organizations. Tillerson had argued unsuccessfully that the United States should remain a part of the agreement, to maximize USA leverage.

He said the administration was trying to find a way to re-establish a working relationship, notably on Syria.

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