07/30/2019, 10.07
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Trump's veto stronger than the Senate: green light for arms sales to the Saudis

The vote focused on precision guided ammunition and other equipment. The first ended with 45 votes at 40; the other two indicated a similar result. Two thirds were needed to overturn the veto. According to critics, weapons are used by Saudis against civilians in the war in Yemen.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The US Senate failed in its latest attempt last night to stop the controversial arms sale worth over $ 8 billion to Saudi Arabia which, according to critics, are being used by Riyadh against civilians in the war in Yemen. In recent days, President Donald Trump had used veto power to overcome the bipartisan motions of the two chambers of Congress, which  tried in every way to prevent the finalization of the contract.

According to the White House, interrupting the supply contract would "weaken" the "competitiveness" of the United States on the global market. Last week, the president added that a cancellation of the sale of weapons could have damaged US relations with the allies in the Middle East region at a time of severe tension with Tehran.

The parliamentary vote focused on the sale of precision guided ammunition produced by Raytheon Co, along with other similar equipment. In recent months, the opinion towards Riyadh has changed following the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which took place on 2 October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 

Returning to the vote, a number of parliamentarians - including a handful of Republicans in the Senate - claim that there are no legitimate grounds for circumventing Congress. In the first vote yesterday, five Republicans opted to overturn the president's decision, flanking the Democratic colleagues for an overall result of 45 to 40. Another 15 senators abstained.

Two other votes resulted in a similar outcome; to overturn the veto, two thirds of the votes of the Congress were needed.

In May, the Trump administration announced the completion of arms sales procedures to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. President Trump issued a national emergency declaration in order to continue with the sale. He had publicized the Iranian threat, in the context of an escalation following the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement (Jcpoa) ​​in May 2018, to justify his choices.

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