CAPITOL HILL - Members of the U.S. Senate are brushing off Saudi Arabia’s anger over resolutions the chamber approved pertaining to the war in Yemen and the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Earlier this week, the Saudi Foreign Ministry criticized the resolutions as “undermining the kingdom’s regional and international role” and "based on unsubstantiated claims and allegations." Speaking with VOA, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut indicated he is focused on Saudi actions, not words.
Saudi Arabia issued an unusually strong rebuke of the U.S. Senate on Monday, rejecting a bipartisan resolution that put the blame for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi squarely on the Saudi crown prince and describing it as interference in the kingdom's affairs.
It's the latest sign of how the relationship between the royal court and Congress has deteriorated, more than two months after Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. The assassins have been linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“I care that Saudi Arabia change its vicious and brutal policies toward Yemen and killing innocent civilians and murdering children there," Blumenthal said. "
Alabama Republican Richard Shelby said the Senate could not remain silent after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October.
“That was reprehensible conduct," Shelby said. "That’s something we spoke as a body on. They [Saudis] have been good allies, but sometimes you can’t look the other way on something like that.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he had noted the historic rebuke of longtime ally Saudi Arabia by U.S. lawmakers.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a resolution to end American support for the kingdom's military intervention in Yemen's civil war and another measure condemning the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist.
"We saw the vote yesterday. We always have great respect for what the legislative branch does," Pompeo told reporters in Washington.
Last week, the Senate voted to end U.S. backing for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen’s civil war and unanimously named Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
The kingdom said it “rejects any interference in its internal affairs” and is working to achieve a political solution in Yemen.