Senate fails to override Trump vetoes of Saudi arms sales bills

The legislation would have blocked the sale of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia and other countries.

    Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince <span><span>Mohammed bin Salman</span></span> in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]
    Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince <span><span>Mohammed bin Salman</span></span> in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

    The United States Senate on Monday failed to override President Donald Trump's vetoes of legislation passed by Congress that would have blocked the sale of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia.

    In the first of three separate efforts to overturn the Republican president's vetoes, supporters failed by a vote of 45-40, well short of the two-thirds needed. Five of the chamber's 53 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to override Trump.

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

    In May, the Trump administration announced that it would go ahead with more than eight billion dollars in military sales, sidestepping a congressional review process.

    The legislation would have blocked the sale of Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions and related equipment.

    Congress's effort was aimed at attempting to pressure the Saudi government to improve its human rights record and to do more to avoid civilian casualties in a war in the Saudi-UAE war in Yemen.

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    Congressional sentiment towards Saudi Arabia worsened after the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.

    According to the report, US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder - a conclusion Saudi officials deny.

    Trump has argued that cutting off the Saudi weapons sales would weaken US relations with a longtime ally and hurt US competitiveness.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies