Saudi Arabia slams US Senate over ‘interference’

Riyadh, Monday

Saudi Arabia has reacted angrily after the US Senate voted to withdraw military aid for the war in Yemen, where the Saudis are leading a coalition fighting rebels.

The Senate also blamed the Saudi crown prince for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident. Saudi Arabia described the vote as “interference” based on “untrue allegations”.

Thursday’s Senate resolution was mostly symbolic and is unlikely to become law. However, it is seen as a rebuke to Donald Trump’s Saudi policies.

It was the first time a chamber of the US Congress had agreed to pull US forces from a military conflict under the 1973 War Powers Act.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, and has received logistical and intelligence support from the US.

The kingdom has also come under pressure since Khashoggi, a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post, was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the foreign ministry said: “The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate.”

It said that such a position “was built on untrue allegations”, and that Saudi Arabia rejected “any interference in its internal affairs”.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, and the Saudi government has insisted that he knew nothing about Khashoggi’s killing.

“The Kingdom has previously asserted that the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi is a deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy nor its institutions and reaffirms its rejection of any attempts to take the case out of the path of justice in the Kingdom,” the foreign ministry said.

The US has so far not publicly responded to the Saudi statement.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has said Khashoggi was killed on the orders of a rogue intelligence officer.  -BBC

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