Senators edge closer to ending US support for Saudi-coalition in Yemen
US senators predicted on Monday that a vote to end US support for the Saudi-coalition in Yemen could happen next week, after a Trump administration briefing failed to change opinions on the need to punish Riyadh for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
US State and Defence departments met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday to discuss Yemen, amid outrage in Congress about Saudi Arabia following the grisly killing of Khashoggi last year.
"I don't think they won any hearts and minds," Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said as he left the briefing, Reuters reported.
Read more: Historic Senate vote sets stage for ending US role in Yemen
Both Republicans and Democrats have criticised a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen over high civilian casualties.
Outrage at Riyadh has grown since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Trump administration's failure to meet a deadline to brief Congress on whether Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were behind the killing.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers had triggered a provision in the Global Magnitsky human rights act in October, giving Trump's administration until February 8 to report on who orchestrated Khashoggi's killing and subsequent sanctions on those responsible.
Earlier this month, the Democratic-led US House of Representatives approved a rare resolution seeking to end US support for the Saudi-coalition.
Senator Chris Murphy, who backed the resolution, said he expected the Senate to vote on it next week, Reuters reported.
The Senate first approved the war powers resolution on Yemen by 56-41 in a historic vote in December.
It marked the first time the Senate used the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to oppose US involvement in an overseas conflict and signalled an unprecedented level of Congressional opposition to the Yemen war and the US-Saudi relationship.
Senators were enraged by Khashoggi's October killing and the White House response, and that outrage prompted several Republicans to support the Yemen resolution because it would be seen as a rebuke to the long-time ally.
Currently, the US provides an array of military support for the Saudi-led coalition, in which the UAE also plays a lead role.
Since a Saudi-led coalition intervened to support of the beleaguered government in March 2015, at least 10,000 people have lost their lives according to the World Health Organisation.
However human rights groups believe the real death toll could be five times as high. Widespread famine and outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera, exacerbated by a de-facto Saudi blockade on Yemen's ports, are endangering the lives of more civilians.
Agencies contributed to this report.