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Obama signs Russian trade and human rights bill

Friday - 12/14/2012, 2:08pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a bill that will expand trade with Russia but could antagonize relations with Moscow over its treatment of dissidents.

While welcoming better trade relations, Russia has threatened retaliation over a section of the law that would punish Russian officials who allegedly commit human rights violations. A Russian official suggested sanctions could be imposed on U.S. officials accused of rights violations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a main sponsor of the human rights measure, says it will help the Russian people by "sending a signal" to Russian President Vladimir Putin that human rights abuses will not be tolerated.

The law eliminates a 1974 law that tied trade relations with the former Soviet Union to the emigration of Jews and other minorities.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)