President Donald Trump rejected a bill from Congress to end assistance to Saudi Arabia for the Yemen war. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the veto would serve to "perpetuate America's shameful involvement" in the crisis.
US President Donald Trump issued a veto on Tuesday to kill a resolution approved by both houses of Congress which sought to end US military assistance for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.
The move marked the second time that Trump has used his veto power to reject a bill from the legislature. To override the president's veto, the resolution would need a two-thirds majority, which it currently does not have in the deeply divided Congress.
The resolution's approval in both the House of Representatives and the Senate had been seen as a historic milestone already, as it was the first time that a bill invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution reached the president's desk.
Trump: 'bill harms bilateral relations'
Trump's veto came as no surprise. The president has strongly backed Saudi Arabia, even after the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and after US intelligence agencies determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder.
"This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future," Trump wrote explaining why he issued the veto.
The president also argued the resolution would "harm the foreign policy of the United States" and "harm our bilateral relationships."
"Peace in Yemen requires a negotiated settlement," the president said. He also highlighted that the US was not actively engaged in hostilities, except against al-Qaeda extremists.
United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash reacted swiftly to Trump's veto.
"President Trump's assertion of support to the Arab Coalition in Yemen is a positive signal," Gargash said on Twitter. The decision is both "timely and strategic" he added. The UAE is the Saudi Arabia's principal ally in the coalition.
'Risking Yemeni lives'
The US currently pours billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Houthi rebels, who are believed to be supported by Iran, in Yemen. With the resolution, members of Congress were acting on their concerns about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump's veto, saying it would serve to "perpetuate America's shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis."
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Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, sponsor of the resolution, said Trump was "risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime."
International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband said that vetoing the measure represents an "effective green light for the war strategy that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis to continue."
The fighting in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has left millions suffering from food shortages and medical care shortages. It has also pushed the country to the brink of famine.
jcg/se (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)