Sun, 04 Dec 2022

Washington DC, September 29, 2022

A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter Thursday to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, voicing concerns over Algeria's growing ties with Russia. and calling for sanctions against officials in the Algerian government for an arms deal with Moscow.

The letter, seen by prwire360 and led by Congresswoman Lisa McClain, follows a similar call from Senator Marco Rubio for the Biden administration to issue sanctions against Algeria.

The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria is one of the top global purchasers of military equipment from the Russian Federation. The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (P.L.115-44) authorizes sanctions designations against any party that "the President determines knowingly . . . engages in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation." 

"This recent Algeria-Russia arms purchase would clearly be categorized as a significant transaction under CAATSA. Yet, no sanctions available to you have been crafted by the State Department," read the letter to Blinken, which 27 members of Congress signed.

US lawmakers from both political parties have been pressing the administration to crack down on countries or individuals that engage with Putin and his government, which ordered a further invasion of Ukraine in February.

"The United States needs to send a clear message to the world that the support for Vladimir Putin and his regime's barbaric war efforts will not be tolerated," the letter to Blinken read. "Therefore, we request you begin to immediately implement significant sanctions on those in the Algerian government who were involved in the purchase of Russian arms."

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Blinken, 
We write to you today to voice our concerns over the recent reports of the ever-growing ties between the Russian Federation and the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. As you know, Russia is Algeria's largest military arms supplier. Last year alone, Algeria finalized an arms purchase with Russia that totaled over $7 billion. In this deal, Algeria agreed to purchase advanced Russian fighter aircraft1, including Sukhoi 57. Previously, Russia had not agreed to sell this particular aircraft to any other nation until now. This military transfer has made Algeria the 3rd largest recipient2 of Russian arms in the world. 
In 2017, Congress passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act 
(CAATSA.) This legislation directs the President of the United States to impose sanctions on individuals who knowingly, "engages in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.3" The President has delegated sanctions authority to the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury. This recent Algeria-Russia arms purchase would clearly be categorized as "a significant transaction" under CAATSA. Yet, no sanctions available to you have been crafted by the State Department.  

As the war in Ukraine continues, Russia is in desperate need of funds to continue its war effort. Russia's attempt to punish the European Unionas involvement in the conflict by blocking sales of natural gas to European countries has left President Vladimir Putin with few income streams into Russian government coffers. It is likely Russia will continue to push for additional arms sales. It is critical that President Biden and his administration prepare to sanction those who attempt to fund the Russian government, and its war machine, through the purchase of military equipment. 
Therefore, we request you begin to immediately implement significant sanctions on those in the Algerian government who were involved in the purchase of Russian arms. The United States needs to send a clear message to the world that the support for Vladimir Putin and his regimeas barbaric war efforts will not be tolerated. 
Sincerely, 

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