USA: Senators Brush Off Saudi Anger Over Resolutions on Yemen, Khashoggi Death

Maher Abdulaziz Mutred, named by Turkish officials as one of 15 Saudi Suspects, and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in Houston, April 2018. The New York Times

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CAPITOL HILL — Members of the U.S. Senate are brushing off Saudi Arabia’s anger over resolutions the chamber approved pertaining to the war in Yemen and the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier this week, the Saudi Foreign Ministry criticized the resolutions as “undermining the kingdom’s regional and international role” and “based on unsubstantiated claims and allegations.” Speaking with VOA, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut indicated he is focused on Saudi actions, not words.

“I care that Saudi Arabia change its vicious and brutal policies toward Yemen and killing innocent civilians and murdering children there,” Blumenthal said. “

Alabama Republican Richard Shelby said the Senate could not remain silent after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October.

“That was reprehensible conduct,” Shelby said. “That’s something we spoke as a body on. They [Saudis] have been good allies, but sometimes you can’t look the other way on something like that.”

Last week, the Senate voted to end U.S. backing for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen’s civil war and unanimously named Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

The kingdom said it “rejects any interference in its internal affairs” and is working to achieve a political solution in Yemen.

  • Michael Bowman I VOA

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