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US Senate votes to end support for Saudis in Yemen

December 14, 2018

The US Senate vote sent a rebuke to President Trump who has repeatedly shown support for the Saudi-led regime. The Senate also approved a resolution blaming the Saudi Crown Prince for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death.

Jemen Sanaa Bürgerkrieg Ruinen
Image: Reuters/K. Abdullah

The US Senate on Thursday voted to end military support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen, with members voting 56-41 in favor of the motion.

The largely symbolic move sends a strong message to US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly indicated his backing for the Saudi regime.

Read more: When it comes to Saudi Arabia, Germany "turns a blind eye"

A number of Republicans crossed the aisle to join Democrats in supporting the resolution, which cannot be debated until January, when Democrats take control over the lower chamber.

Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been caught in a power struggle between a Saudi-backed government-in-exile and the Shiite Houthi rebels since late 2014.

Humanitarian organization Save the Children estimates 85,000 children under the age of five have died in Yemen since the war started.

The Senate resolution, which gained momentum after the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is an unusual invocation of Congress' authority under the War Powers Resolution. 

Senate vote to end support for war in Yeman a 'wake-up call' for Trump

Senate pins Khashoggi murder on Saudi prince

The Senate also approved a resolution condemning Khashoggi's murder on Thursday, saying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was "responsible" for it.

Trump has so far avoided laying the blame on the crown prince, and when pressed on the issue said the US "intends to remain a steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Yemen is 'the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world'

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who votes with the Democrats, said the Yemen vote was "a historic moment."

"Today we tell the despotic government of Saudi Arabia that we will not be part of their military adventures," he said.

The Senate vote came as the United Nations secretary general on Thursday announced that Yemen's warring sides had agreed to a province-wide cease-fire and withdrawal of troops in Hodeida, a contested Red Sea port city.

law/bw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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