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US Senate backs missile sales to Saudi Arabia

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to reporters after a vote as Senators move forward trying to overcome the gap increase in the $28.4 trillion lending agency la of the Treasury Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 7, 2021. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

December 8, 2021

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday rejected a resolution that could ban a proposal to sell advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, rocket launchers and other weapons as well as support Saudi Arabia. Saudi.

The vote count was 67 to 30 against the resolution, brought by Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee, as well as Bernie Sanders, who are caucuses with the Democratic Party.

While many U.S. lawmakers see Saudi Arabia as an important partner in the Middle East, members of Congress have also criticized the country for its involvement in the war in Yemen, a conflict seen as one of the world’s worst tragedies. The world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

“Exporting more missiles to Saudi Arabia does nothing but this conflict and add fuel to the raging fire,” Sanders said in a speech calling for support for the unapproved solution. bouncing.

They refused to approve military purchases to the kingdom without assurances that American equipment would not be used to kill civilians. Proponents of the sale note that the administration of President Joe Biden has banned the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia by the United States.

“I fully agree with the need to hold the leadership of Saudi Arabia accountable for a variety of actions… but I also believe it is important that our security partners know that we will uphold its commitments,” said Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the State Senate. Relations Committee.

The weapons package, which has been approved by the State Department as well as by the leadership of the Senate and House foreign affairs committees, will include 280 advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles AIM-120C-7/C-8 ( AMRAAM), 596 Missile Launchers LAU-128 (MRL) plus other equipment and support,

Raytheon Technologies builds rockets.

The Biden administration earlier said Tuesday that it strongly opposes the resolution.

“will undermine the president’s commitment to support our partner’s defenses at a time of increasing missile and computer attacks,” the White House Office of Budget Management said in a statement. drones targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia”.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates)

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DUSTIN JONES

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