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    US Lawmakers Call on Obama to Delay Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

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    60 US lawmakers urge President Barack Obama to postpone the sale of $1.15 billion worth of arms and ammunition to Saudi Arabia, local media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A group of 60 US lawmakers will send a letter to President Barack Obama later on Tuesday calling on him to postpone the sale of $1.15 billion worth of arms and ammunition to Saudi Arabia, local media reported.

    The letter cites the growing casualties among civilians in Yemen caused by the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes as the reason for the delay.

    “This military campaign has had a deeply troubling impact on civilians. Just in the last several days, a Saudi airstrike on a school in Yemen killed 10 children – some as young as 6-years-old – and a Saudi airstrike on an MSF hospital in Yemen killed 11 people,” the draft letter, obtained by the Foreign Policy, said.

    In the letter, the lawmakers also reportedly expressed concern at the fact that the decision to send the arms to Saudi Arabia was made during the August congressional recess, which “could be interpreted to mean that Congress has little time to consider the arms deal.”

    On August 9, the US State Department approved the sale of the weapons and ammunition to Riyadh. The Congress, which will reconvene on September 6, will have only two days to block the move.

    Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government headed by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Houthi rebels, the country’s main opposition force. Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries have been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request.

    The UN human rights office said in a report earlier this month that about 3,800 civilians were killed and more than 6,700 wounded in Yemen between March 2015 and August 23, 2016.

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    letter, arms sales, Congress, Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia, United States
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