22:35 GMT +314 December 2019
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    The US Capitol building is mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC Dec. 28, 2018.

    US Congress to Veto $8 Billion Trump Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia, UAE - Senior Lawmaker

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Senator Bob Menendez's office said in a news release that the lawmaker had reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pave the way for legislators to vote on 22 joint resolutions on Thursday that will block the Trump administration's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    "Menendez […] reached a unanimous consent agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that will provide for votes tomorrow on his 22 joint resolutions of disapproval to block the Trump administration's unprecedented attempt at approving over $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi and UAE based on a false emergency and without Congressional consent", the release said on Wednesday.

    The release added that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch had agreed to quickly take up the Saudi Arabia False Emergencies Act and the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act.

    These measures seek to prevent irresponsible arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to hold the Saudi government responsible for its actions in Yemen, its human rights abuses and the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the release detailed.

    Several US lawmakers have criticized the manner in which the Trump administration has moved forward with the Saudi arms sales, describing as unprecedented and at odds with longstanding practice and cooperation between Congress and the executive branch the deals.

    The US closed an $8.1 billion arms package with Saudi Arabia that includes 120,000 precision-guided bombs, support for Saudi F-15 fighter jets, mortars, anti-tank missiles, and 50-caliber rifles.

    Yemen, a small nation in the south of the Arabian peninsula and the poorest country in the region, has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government forces, led by President-in-exile Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, and the armed Houthi political opposition faction for several years. The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015. The conflict has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.


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