Moscow has to change its behavior for a shift in relations with Washington, says US Vice President Mike Pence
New sanctions against Russia are set to be signed into law, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday.
President Donald “Trump will sign the Russia sanctions bill soon," Pence told a news conference with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in the capital Tbilisi.
Pence said Russia has to stop "destabilizing activities" and "supporting rogue regimes".
"For there to be a change in our relationship with Russia, Russia has to change its behavior," he added.
Pence implicitly downplayed Trump’s earlier threat to veto the bill, saying: “In signing the sanctions, our president and our Congress are speaking with a unified voice.” Trump’s 2016 election campaign has been accused of colluding with Russia.
After the U.S. Senate last week approved new sanctions on Russia, Moscow announced counter-measures, included cutting the total number of personnel employed in U.S. diplomatic and consular offices in Russia, and suspending the use of a summer residence in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said 755 U.S. diplomats would have to leave their positions in the country.
Bilateral relations with Georgia
Pence and Kvirikashvili discussed key issues of the Georgian and American strategic partnership, the Georgian Prime Ministry said in a statement.
"We appreciate the 25-year relationship the U.S. has forged with Georgia. We see Georgia as a key strategic partner. We stand by your territorial integrity and aspirations to become a member of the NATO," Pence said, according to the statement.
According to the statement, Kvirikashvili thanked Pence for the U.S.’ "strong and unwavering" support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
During his visit to Tbilisi, Pence will also visit U.S. and Georgian troops participating in the Noble Partner exercise, which includes eight NATO member and partner countries.