U.S. lawmakers criticise Saudi Arabia, ask about weapons restrictions

U.S. lawmakers criticise Saudi Arabia, ask about weapons restrictions

According to CNN's exclusive report, Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners allegedly gave militants linked to al-Qaeda* terrorist group, Salafi militias and other factions in Yemen weapons that were manufactured by the United States, in breach of its arms agreements with Washington.

"These reports are very troubling and the Trump administration must investigate further and work to prevent this from happening again", Engel said at a hearing.

An open source investigation published by Amnesty International today highlights a growing danger in Yemen's conflict as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recklessly arms militias with a range of advanced weaponry.

On a party-line vote, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution Wednesday 25-17 effectively calling for the end of all USA support for the Saudis in the war with Yemen's Houthi rebels, a conflict observers say has produced massive civilian casualties, displaced 3 million Yemenis and sparked what the aid groups call the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

"We are aware of these reports and seeking additional information", a department official told the Reuters news agency, adding that all such reports are taken seriously.

Some of these weapons were later captured by Houthi rebels after they were left abandoned or sold to other groups, the U.S. network said. Ostensibly targeting Yemen's Shiite rebels, the military campaign has committed "accidents"-schools and hospitals have repeatedly been hit and thousands of civilians-including many children-killed".

However, none of the bills turned into a law, but Engel said its committee would continue to pressurize Saudi for response to casualties in war-torn Yemen country, the imprisonment of women's rights activities and journalist Jamal Khashoggi murder.

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"Neither the threats facing the Saudis nor America's partnership with the kingdom mean that the Saudis should have a blank check", said new committee Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat.

Starting under the Obama administration in 2015, the Pentagon has provided logistical, targeting and intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

US President Donald Trump's administration has been widely criticised amid ongoing calls from politicians and human rights groups to end Washington's involvement in the devastating war.

Late past year, politicians introduced various pieces of legislation seeking to put tighter controls on United States dealings with Riyadh, including clamping down on weapons sales, barring military cooperation with the Saudi-led coalition and calls for human rights sanctions. "We need to push for a real change in Saudi behaviour", he said.

In December, a similar bill cleared the Senate in a 56-41 vote but was blocked by the House, which was then under the control of Republicans.

He said it is expected to come up for a full vote in February.

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