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Republican lawmakers seeking last-minute support for stopping arms sale to Saudi Arabia

Republican lawmakers seeking last-minute support for stopping arms sale to Saudi Arabia

A handful of Republican lawmakers, saying Saudi Arabia is funding terrorism, sought to enlist more opposition to the Bush administration's proposal to sell precision-guided bombs to the Arab kingdom.
The Bush administration announced Jan. 14 that it intended to sell $123 million (euro84.61 million) worth of sophisticated precision-guided bomb technology to Saudi Arabia. The weapons were part of a larger arms package, estimated to total $20 billion (euro13.76 billion), for Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries.
The 30-day period for lawmakers to object ends on Thursday. At least 13 Republicans and an estimated 80 Democrats had signed a resolution opposing the sale, Rep. Zach Wamp, a Tennessee Republican, told reporters at a news conference. However, he acknowledged that the resolution was not scheduled for a vote.
When the arms deal was announced last month, California Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he did not intend to consider a disapproval resolution. Lantos died Monday.
The administration said the sales were central to the president's strategy to shore up defenses against Iran. Bush, who was visiting Saudi Arabia when the arms sale was announced, has called the Arab nation a partner in peace and security.
Wamp said oil money from the Saudi royal family funded numerous nonprofit organizations that, in turn, supported terrorism.
"The problem with selling arms to Saudi Arabia is there is a clear pattern here of the royal family in Saudi Arabia basically aiding and abetting the enemy. I know those are harsh terms, but I'm not from the State Department," Wamp said. "I support the president, I support this administration, but not all the time."
Republican Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Sue Myrick of North Carolina joined Wamp in calling for more Republicans to oppose the sale.
"I don't see why Saudi Arabia has a need for this technology, very frankly," Myrick said. "It's an offensive technology. It just doesn't make sense to me. And so my attitude is, if they're our friends ... then they need to act like our friends and stop financing radical elements of terrorist organizations."


Updated : 2021-10-26 03:40 GMT+08:00