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|July 16, 1998||
US senate paves way for waiver of sanctions for one year
In an apparent bid to strengthen his administration's bargaining position in its dialogue with India and Pakistan on the nuclear issue, the US Senate last night approved an amendment, authorising President Bill Clinton to waive up to one year most of the economic sanctions he had imposed on the two nations after their nuclear tests in May.
The measure, introduced by Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts (both Republicans) during the debate on the Agriculture Appropriation Bill, was adopted without discussion and by a voice vote -- a day after the president signed into law an exemption on food exports to India and Pakistan.
It, however, does not permit waiver for US government sales of defence articles, design and construction services, foreign military financing under the Arms Export Control Act. Nor does it waive curbs on the export of specific goods and technology relating to Export Administration Act of 1979.
''It provides the waiver on everything but military sales,'' Brownback told the media. Brownback, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, said the Bill armed the Clinton administration with powers to lift trade sanctions on New Delhi and Islamabad for 12 months which would ''help restore some stability to south Asia and re-open important markets for US exports.''
''This amendment is not meant to be a cure-all for the long-term problems posed by India and Pakistan's nuclear testing and the resulting sanctions,'' he said. ''It is intended to provide the administration with the flexibility to waive sanctions for a 12-month period, during which I am hopeful some semblance of economic stability, particularly in Pakistan, can be restored.''
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl F Inderfurth had assured on Monday that the administration would not utilise the waiver authority ''until such time as substantial progress has been achieved on the US non-proliferation objectives,'' which include the signing ''immediately and without condition,'' of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by the two countries.
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