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|July 18, 1998||
New US bill seeks to vest Clinton with greater discretion in waiving sanctions
US Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone last night introduced in the House of Representatives a bill seeking to give President Bill Clinton ''greater discretion'' in waiving nuclear-related economic sanctions against India and Pakistan.
The legislation, entitled the South Asian Sanctions Flexibility Act, is similar to one that the senate had passed earlier without discussion and by a voice vote.
Pallone's bill seeks to vest powers in Clinton to scrap, if he so desires, economic sanctions that his administration had unilaterally imposed on the two countries after their may nuclear tests.
It would clear the way for international financial institutions, including the World Bank, to resume normal lending to India and Pakistan that has been stalled because of US objections, mandated by the current sanction regime.
The United States is instrumental in blocking India's World Bank loans, totalling 865 million dollars, after the imposition of sanctions in May.
Like Pallone, in a provision, this bill will also not subject military and dual-use technology to the presidential waiver.
Later, Pallone, in a statement, said he was encouraged by growing indications of support from both sides of aisle in the House of Representatives for the proposal.
He also called on the house appropriations sub-committee to address the sanction issue as part of the fiscal year 1999 foreign operations bill.
In a letter to members of the house foreign operations' sub-committee last week, he had drawn their attention to the senate proposal and asked its members to consider similar provisions as they mark up their legislation.
''Having taken expeditious action on the legislation to resume agricultural exports to India and Pakistan, I believe there is a strong momentum for addressing the larger sanctions issues,'' Pallone added.
He said, ''The key is to find the most effective legislative vehicle for resolving this issue as soon as possible.''
He said he was also trying to line up support for the measure in the Indian caucus, having the support of some 85 Congressmen, drawn from both the Democratic and the Republican parties. Pallone is its founding member and co.-chairman.
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