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Senators Urging to End Russian Defense Contracts

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Indiana Senator Dan Coats joined 10 other colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging to end Russian defense contracts.
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Senator Coats,(photo) a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says the letter also asks Secretary Kerry to urge NATO member countries and participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O-S-C-E) to end all of their defense contracts as well.  The letter is in response to Russia's recent aggress in Crimea. 
In March, Coats introduced an amendment to sanction Russia’s Rosoboronexport, the sole state agency for export of Russian weapons systems and defense-related goods. Additionally, he and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) led a bipartisan letter to President Obama calling for sanctions against Rosoboronexport.
 
The text of the letter to Secretary Kerry is below:
 
April 14, 2014
 
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20520
 
Dear Secretary Kerry:
 
We write to express our support for NATO’s decision to suspend military and civilian cooperation with Russia. We also ask that you further urge both NATO member countries and participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to work cooperatively to cease all trade involving military equipment with Russia in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. This would be a forceful next step by both international organizations (of which the United States is a member) to affirm that there is no more business as usual when it comes to bilateral trade of military equipment given Russia’s hostile actions.
 
As you are aware, two decades ago the Partnership for Peace program was implemented to foster trust between NATO member countries and the member states of the former Soviet Union, and to acknowledge a shared political commitment to creating lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area. This integration with the member states of the former Soviet Union was predicated on shared values and common obligations to uphold international law. Likewise, the Helsinki Final Act, which has been signed by 57 OSCE nations, including the United States, affirmed our collective commitment to sovereign equality, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms. Russia violated these shared principles by disregarding its treaty obligations under the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.  We should immediately halt the trade in military equipment now that Russia has reneged on its commitment to abide by international law.
 
Russia has clearly violated the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and its actions are antithetical to the principles that NATO member countries like the United States seek to uphold. Nonetheless, significant bilateral trade in military equipment continues. The United Kingdom announced the Military Technical Cooperation Agreement with Russia in January 2014, which would provide a framework for Russian and UK defense companies to cooperate at an unclassified level and enable British and Russian arms producers to exchange defense components and technical data. France has continued an existing contract to sell two high-tech Mistral warships to Russia, and the Hungarian Ministry of Defense recently acquired three Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters produced by Rosoboronexport. Unfortunately and inexplicably, the United States is, at the time of writing, continuing with plans to receive 22 more Mi-17 helicopters from Russia as part of our ongoing assistance to Afghanistan.
 
We believe the United States must show leadership by terminating all defense contracts with Russia and ask that you strongly encourage our NATO allies and OSCE participating states to take similar actions. We urge you to lead the coordination among NATO and OSCE to halt trade involving military equipment with Russia immediately. We believe this is a crucial step in reestablishing a deterrent against further Russian aggression and strengthening the impact of our targeted economic sanctions against Russia. We thank you for your attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
               
DANIEL COATS                             
United States Senate
 
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL                                                   
United States Senate
 
JOHN CORNYN                             
United States Senate
 
ROGER F. WICKER                                 
United States Senate
 
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN
United States Senate
                            
CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY                             
United States Senate
 
DAVID VITTER
United States Senate
 
KELLY AYOTTE
United States Senate
 
LOUISE M. SLAUGHTER
Member of Congress
 
JOE PITTS
Member of Congress
 
MICHAEL C. BURGESS
Member of Congress  
 
http://coats.senate.gov
(photo/file)


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