US says 'no timetable' for Turkey S-400 sanctions
The law mandating sanctions for entities that conduct business with Russian defense firms contains "no timetable" for their implementation, the State Department said Thursday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
"There’s no timetable on the president making a decision with the consultation of the secretary, and I want to give the president and the secretary the space to do that," spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. "I think it's important to remember that Turkey is, of course, a NATO ally."
The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which Trump signed into law in 2017, establishes penalties for entities doing business with Russia's defense industry.
Trump reportedly told Republican senators during a closed-door White House meeting Tuesday that he is not in favor of implementing penalties on Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-air missile system.
Democrats were not invited to the meeting but several Republicans who were present reportedly did not agree with the president's position.
They insist the president must impose the penalties stipulated by the law.
Trump has repeatedly voiced reluctance to penalize Turkey for the S-400, doing so last week when announcing Ankara's suspension from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The Trump administration has maintained that the S-400 could expose the advanced fighter to possible Russian subterfuge, and is incompatible with NATO systems.
Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Trump blames the Obama administration for the current row over its refusal to ink a deal with Turkey to sell it Raytheon's Patriot Missile systems.
Turkey's expulsion is slated to be completed by the end of March 2020.
"Actions that we have taken thus far are significant," Ortagus said. "Sanctioning a NATO is a very, very serious action and when the president and the secretary are ready to make a determination under CAATSA I will be more than happy to tell you of that."
The delivery of S-400 components began July 12 and is set to continue through April 2020.
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