Legislation follows reports of abuse of U.S. weapons systems sold to Saudi Arabia and UAE
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Todd Young (R-IN) Jack Reed (D-RI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Chris Murphy (D-CT)—today introduced the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019, comprehensive legislation 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. The bill suspends certain arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as in-flight refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft.
The introduction of the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act coincides with the deadline for the Trump Administration to determine whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is personally responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. In October, ranking member Menendez and then-chairman Corker triggered the investigation under the authorities of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act – a law that gives the President 120 days to determine whether a foreign individual is responsible for extrajudicial killings, and whether the President intends to impose sanctions on that person. The senators’ legislation also comes on the heels of a CNN investigation about U.S.-made military equipment sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ending up in the hands of Al-Qaeda and other adversaries of the United States.
“From the war in Yemen that has become a humanitarian disaster to the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia has committed egregious and unacceptable violations of human rights,” said Senator Collins. “By imposing sanctions and suspending arms sales, this bipartisan legislation puts Saudi Arabian leaders on notice that we do not support how they are conducting the war, nor will we tolerate their outrageous murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”
Late last year, the Senate unanimously passed a Resolution naming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as "responsible" for the slaying of Jamal Khashoggi.
A copy of the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act can be found HERE. Key elements of this legislation include:
- Mandatory sanctions on persons responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi
- Suspension on certain weapons sales to Saudi Arabia
- Prohibition on U.S. refueling of Saudi Coalition Aircraft engaged in the civil war in Yemen
- Sanctions for persons blocking humanitarian access in Yemen
- Sanctions for persons supporting the Houthis in Yemen
- Accountability report for all actors in Yemen in violation of international war or guilty of war crimes and harm to civilians
- Report on human rights in Saudi Arabia