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Iran Press TV

Senate fails to override Trump veto of Saudi arms measure

Iran Press TV

Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:50PM

The US Senate has stopped short of forming a majority required to override President Donald Trump's veto earlier in the month of three congressional resolutions aimed at blocking the country's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

On Monday, the chamber was set to try rendering the vetoes, which Trump issued on July 24 against three congressional measures, ineffective, Reuters reported.

However, a first vote on trying to overturn one veto on a measure passed by Congress to block the sale of certain weapons to the Saudi kingdom was backed by 45 senators against 40. The Senate's Republicans shunned the bid en masse, with only five supporting the vote. Fifteen senators, meanwhile, withheld their votes.

The vote tallies were similar in the two subsequent roll-call votes to override vetoes of the legislation blocking the additional weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

Congress has been trying to intervene in Washington's untrammeled arms sales to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which have been leading an invasion of Yemen since March 2015. Congress' effort was also aimed at attempting to pressure the Saudi government to improve its human rights record.

Tens of thousands have died since the onset of the military aggression, which has unsuccessfully sought to bring back Yemen's former Saudi-allied officials.

The arms sold by the US to the kingdom include guided bombs, which the latter has been using rampantly against Yemeni civilians.

Washington also offers unstinting logistical support for the invasion, including bombing coordinates. Until earlier in the year, it had also been refueling Saudi warplanes midair, but stopped the process after the coalition grew independent of the support.

An American commando contingent has also been identifying arms depots belonging to the Yemeni forces, who have been defending the impoverished nation against the Saudi-led coalition.

Don't turn back on Yemen: UN

Also on Monday, a senior United Nations official urged the international community "not to turn its back" on Yemen and to honor its pledges of aid for the war-racked country.

"Four years of conflict according to the UNDP latest report have set back Yemen by 20 years," United Nations Development Program administrator, Achim Steiner told AFP in an interview in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

He said the UN had received less than 36 percent of the $2.6 billion pledged at a Geneva conference in February.

"Currently, in the next two or three months we can expect that if funding does not materialize, over 21 programs will have to be rolled back," Steiner added.

"It is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," he reminded.

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