Saudi slams US Senate vote as ‘interference’

A Saudi Arabia flag flies in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. (AFP pic)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday rejected as “interference” a US Senate resolution to end American military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen, and another holding its crown prince responsible for the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi.

“The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate that was built on untrue allegations and affirms a total rejection of any interference in its internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on the official Saudi Press Agency.

Though largely symbolic, the US Senate vote on Thursday dealt a fresh warning to President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly signalled his backing for the Saudi regime even amid a mounting uproar over the Yemen conflict and the slaying of journalist Khashoggi.

On the Yemen measure, which more broadly attacks the president’s prerogative to launch military actions, 49 Democrats or their allies voted in favour, along with seven Republicans, while another three Republicans abstained.

Then, in a voice vote with no opposition, the Senate also approved a resolution condemning Khashoggi’s murder and calling Prince Mohammed bin Salman “responsible” for it.

The resolutions cannot be debated in the House of Representatives before January, and would likely be vetoed in any case by Trump.

But the Senate votes send a strong message to the White House over anger on both sides of the aisle towards Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.

Anger at the human cost of the war in Yemen has prompted a harder line in Congress about the US military’s role in backing Saudi-led coalition strikes against Huthi rebels.