Saudis condemn US Senate interference

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46588036

A bomb strike in Yemen. File photoImage copyright
Getty Images

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Yemen has been devastated by a four-year conflict

Saudi Arabia has denounced US Senate resolutions to end US military aid for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen and to blame the country’s crown prince for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi foreign ministry described the move as “interference” based on “untrue allegations”.

Thursday’s US resolutions are largely symbolic and unlikely to become law.

But they sent a warning to President Donald Trump about US lawmakers’ anger towards Saudi policies.

What did Saudi Arabia say?

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi foreign ministry said: “The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate.”

It said that such a position “was built on untrue allegations and affirms a total rejection of any interference in its internal affairs”.

The US has so far not publicly responded to the Saudi statement.

What about the US Senate resolutions?

Thursday’s vote was the first time any chamber of US Congress had agreed to pull US forces from a military conflict under the 1973 War Powers Act.

Some of President Trump’s fellow Republicans defied him to pass the measure with Democrats by 56-41.

Image copyright
Reuters

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President Trump has consistently defended US business and military ties with Saudi Arabia

The non-binding resolution called upon Mr Trump to remove all American forces engaging in hostilities in Yemen, except for those combating Islamist extremists.

The Senate then unanimously passed a resolution blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in October, and insisting that the kingdom hold accountable those responsible.

The US chose to cease refuelling Saudi war planes last month, and Thursday’s resolution – if it were ultimately passed into law – would prohibit that practice from resuming.

Can this legislation become law?

President Trump has vowed to veto the measures, and they are unlikely at present to pass the House of Representatives, which on Wednesday blocked a vote on the matter.

But independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who co-sponsored the measures, said he expected the resolutions to succeed once Democrats formally take over control of the House in January following their mid-term elections victory.

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Media captionSenators slam Saudi crown prince as “crazy” and a “wrecking ball”

The Trump administration had argued the bill on Yemen would undercut US support for the Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

White House officials have emphasised US economic ties to the kingdom. Mr Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has continued to cultivate ties with the prince, according to the US media.

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