Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with his Russian counterpart this week to help clarify questions on recently imposed US sanctions.
The US finance chief told reporters on Saturday that he agreed to “accommodate” a meeting request with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on Friday, which he described as a “small bilat.”
“Although there are many issues we don’t agree on, I think that it is important we are prepared to listen to our counterparts on issues,” Mnuchin said.
The two finance chiefs discussed recently imposed sanctions against Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with a dozen companies.
“They did have some clarification questions on sanctions,” said Mnuchin.
The meeting comes less than a week after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on Sunday that the Trump administration was ready to impose further sanctions against Russia. But the administration walked back that statement, saying it had refined its strategy.
On Saturday, the secretary didn’t offer any hints of any further planned actions by Washington, but said the administration would “continue to look at the use of sanctions in all different areas.”
“We have plenty of things we can do in the future,” said Mnuchin. “But as of right now, we’re not going to comment on future sanctions.”
The Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Russia on April 6 targeting Oleg Deripaska, who once had close ties to Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Kirill Shamalov, an energy executive who married Putin’s daughter; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of euros into France in suitcases.
Mnuchin said the two finance chiefs also discussed North Korea, an issue of “grave concern.” The US, he said, is seeking cooperation from Moscow to impose pressure on the rogue nation to abandon its nuclear weapons program.