07/25/2019, 09.14
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Trump uses veto: Saudi arms sales continues

US president claims bill would "weaken America's competitiveness" and "undermine important relationships" with partners. The escalation of the current tension with Iran is the pretext used to justify the billion-dollar sale. By August 2, the Senate must vote on the possible reversal of the presidential veto.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US President Donald Trump vetoed a series of [bipartisan] resolutions of the Congress, which intended to block the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and other allies in the war in Yemen.

The White House says the norms adopted in recent weeks by Congress and would end up "weakening America's competitiveness in the world and undermining the important relations" with "our partners".

Addressing the Senate Trump said blocking the finalization of an eight billion dollar contract "would equally harm the credibility of the United States as a reliable partner". The message in case of approval of the veto, he adds, is that "we are ready to abandon our allies just as the threats [the reference is to the tensions underway with Iran] are intensifying".

The White House tenant concluded, "it is my duty to postpone [these resolutions] to the Senate without my approval".

At the end of May the US administration finalized the (billionaire) contract for arms sales to the Saudis, invoking an urgent situation determined by escalating tension with Tehran as a pretext. However, Congress members (Democrats and Republicans), many of whom were shocked by the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and civilian victims in the context of the Yemen conflict, voted a series of measures to block the sale.

The US Congress had already approved a resolution in early April urging President Trump to block support for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, committed since 2015 in the Yemen conflict against Tehran-backed Houthi rebels. Since the coalition intervention, the war has caused about 10 thousand deaths and the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world" with millions of people on the brink of starvation as certified by UN experts.

In the coming days the Senate will have to decide whether to overturn the presidential veto, continuing the tug of war with Trump. The vote should be held before August 2, when parliamentarians will leave the capital Washington for a five-week summer break. Analysts and experts point out that, despite having bipartisan support, the motion will hardly exceed the two thirds needed on the 100 senators to overcome the White House veto.

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