US Senate votes to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia

US Senate votes to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia
The US senate voted to block US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in another blow to Trump.
2 min read
20 June, 2019
The US wants to block arms sales to Saudi for its crimes in Yemen [Getty]

The Republican-led Senate voted Thursday to block US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, as legislators outraged with the kingdom delivered a rebuke to US President Donald Trump.

The upper chamber of Congress voted 53 to 45 to approve the first of three resolutions that would prevent the $8.1 billion in sales announced earlier this year, with a handful of Republicans siding with Democrats.

Some 22 resolutions, if all are approved and then passed by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, would block the sales of aircraft support maintenance, munitions and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan at a moment of heightened tensions in the Middle East.

This comes hours after the British government said it would suspend issuing new Saudi licenses for the sale of arms that might be used in the Gulf kingdom's bombing campaign in Yemen.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a British court ordered the government to "reconsider" sales due to their humanitarian impact.

The Yemen war entered its fourth year in March. Described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis by the United Nations, the war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi and UAE-backed government has left millions on the brink of famine.

At least 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Yemen war since March 2015, although rights groups say the death toll is much higher.

The UK and US-made bombs may have killed or injured more than 1,000 Yemeni civilians, including women and children.

Agencies contributed to this report.