U.S. sen­a­tors to vote on mes­sage to Riyadh over Khashoggi death

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

WASH­ING­TON: U.S. sen­a­tors said Thurs­day they ex­pect to vote next week on ef­forts to make clear to Saudi Ara­bia there is strong con­cern in Wash­ing­ton about the killing of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi at a Saudi con­sulate in Turkey, de­spite Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s calls for con­tin­ued close ties to Riyadh.

Some of Trump’s fel­low Repub­li­cans have joined Democrats in blam­ing Saudi Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man for Khashoggi’s death and back­ing leg­is­la­tion that could re­spond by, among other things, end­ing U.S. sup­port for Saudi-led war ef­fort in Ye­men and sus­pend­ing weapons sales to the king­dom.

A group of Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic sen­a­tors met Thurs­day morn­ing to dis­cuss how to move ahead, say­ing af­ter­ward they were work­ing to come up with a com­pro­mise that could even­tu­ally be­come law.

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Bob Corker, chair­man of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, said he hoped to hold a hear­ing early next week on leg­is­la­tion that in­cluded a broad range of ef­forts to clamp down on Riyadh, in­clud­ing new sanc­tions and an end to mil­i­tary sales.

He also said he ex­pected a vote in the Se­nate next week on a war pow­ers res­o­lu­tion to stop U.S. sup­port for the war in Ye­men, which has pro­duced one of the world’s worst hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ters.

Last week, 14 Repub­li­cans, who hold a slim ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate and rarely break from the pres­i­dent, de­fied Trump’s wishes and voted with the Democrats in fa­vor of mov­ing ahead with the war pow­ers res­o­lu­tion.

“We had a very good meet­ing,” Corker told re­porters after the ses­sion, which was also at­tended by Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Lind­sey Gra­ham and Todd Young and Democrats Bob Me­nen­dez and Chris Mur­phy.

Me­nen­dez, the top Demo­crat on the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, in­formed re­porters after the meet­ing that the sen­a­tors were work­ing on a com­pro­mise.

Gra­ham, a vo­cal critic of Saudi Ara­bia, close to Trump, in­tro­duced a bi­par­ti­san Se­nate res­o­lu­tion Thurs­day to hold the Saudi crown prince “ac­count­able” for fur­ther­ing the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Ye­men, a block­ade of Qatar, the jail­ing of dis­si­dents and Khashoggi’s death.

Khashoggi was a U.S. res­i­dent as well as a Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist. –

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