Menendez Statement on Committee Passage of Bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act

Menendez Statement on Committee Passage of Bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act

 

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the Committee passed the Bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 13 votes to 9. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Menendez and Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.)—along with Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is a comprehensive effort to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led coalition for its role in the devastating conflict in Yemen.

“I am pleased that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act that I authored along with colleagues Senators Young, Reed, Graham, Shaheen, Collins, and Murphy. The United States and Saudi Arabia have a complicated, but ultimately important strategic partnership. We have watched the Saudi-led coalition lead a disastrous campaign in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, left millions more on the brink of starvation, and only empowered the Houthis and their backers in the process. The Saudi government has pursued foreign policy objectives at odds with United States interests across the region, and orchestrated the brutal murder of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The President and his administration have failed to meaningfully respond and so Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, must.

“This bill does not seek to throw out the U.S.-Saudi partnership, but sends a strong signal that our partners cannot act with impunity and that we must take actions to promote our interests and our values. The bill limits the sales of weapons the Kingdom has used to slaughter civilians in Yemen while preserving support for Saudi Arabia’s legitimate security concerns.

“The bill calls for accountability for all those perpetrating war crimes in Yemen and mandates sanctions against anyone blocking humanitarian access or supporting the Houthis. It includes various measures to assess U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition. Finally, it calls for a report on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and mandates sanctions on anyone responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

“We must assert that there are consequences when countries engage in devastating human crises, act against our interests and flagrantly flout international law and norms by executing journalists and dissidents at home or on foreign soil.”

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