Saudi arms sales to proceed as Senate fails to override veto

Saudi arms sales to proceed as Senate fails to override veto

WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Monday failed to prevent the  sale of $8.1 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, after President Donald Trump vetoed congressional resolutions blocking the deal.

Despite bipartisan votes this month that served as a rebuke to the president — and an expression of lawmakers´ outrage with the kingdom over  the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year — the effort to override Trump´s third use of his veto powers since taking office fell well short.

Trump sought approval for 22 separate sales of aircraft support maintenance, precision-guided munitions and other weapons and equipment to countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at a moment of heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Trump´s administration took the extraordinary step of bypassing Congress to approve the sale in May, as his administration declared Iran to be a “fundamental threat” to the stability of the Middle East.

Senate Democrat Ben Cardin said that by not blocking the sales, Republicans “abdicated their constitutionally mandated responsibilities” to conduct oversight.

“We have both a legal and moral obligation to make certain that US weapons are not used to repress human rights or perpetrate violence against innocent civilians,” Cardin said.

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