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U.S. Senate to consider Saudi rights abuse bill

Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Jim Risch, introduced legislation on Wednesday punishing Saudi Arabia over human rights abuses and criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but not halting weapons sales.

The bill is the latest effort in Congress to hold the kingdom accountable for rights abuses, including the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey and a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

“The Crown Prince has frequently behaved in a reckless manner, including arresting those opposed to his rule,” the bill says, adding that bin Salman’s actions could “significantly harm” U.S.-Saudi relations.

However, the Saudi Arabia Diplomatic Review Act would not block weapons sales to Riyadh, focusing instead on barring travel by many members of the Saudi royal family who work in its government, although not the king or crown prince.

Risch said his goal was legislation that addresses rights abuses, but that U.S. President Donald Trump would sign. “This is an honest effort to get a bill that can pass and become law,” he told reporters.Speech

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