Biden rejects labeling Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’

The American administration estimated on Tuesday September 6 that it would be counter-productive in the current state to qualify Russia as a “state sponsoring terrorism», thus rejecting calls to this effect from kyiv and American parliamentarians. Asked about this on Monday, US President Joe Biden had dropped a “Nopetersely, breaking months of American dithering at least publicly.

On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, who was asked to explain President Biden’s response, said such a qualification “was not the most effective or strong way to hold Russia to accountfor his invasion of Ukraine. The official said in particular that this could harm efforts to get humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Such a qualification could alsoundermine the unprecedented multilateral (coalition) that has been so effective in holding (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to account and our ability to support Ukrainein the negotiations, she added. Coming from the world’s largest economy, qualifying a State as “supporting terrorismhas far-reaching consequences, including exposing U.S. banks and corporations to legal action.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded at the end of June that Russia be recognized as “state sponsor of terrorism“, the day after a Russian strike on a shopping center that killed at least 18 people. For their part, American parliamentarians, including the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, pleaded for such a qualification in order to increase the pressure on Moscow more than six months after its invasion of Ukraine.

In mid-August, the Latvian Parliament had described Russia as “State supporting terrorismwhose acts in Ukraine constitute atargeted genocide against the Ukrainian people“, in a statement immediately welcomed by kyiv and denounced by Moscow. Only four countries in the world are currently designated by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Syria, North Korea and Cuba.

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