CONGRESSMEN LIEU AND CONYERS LEAD LETTER URGING PRESIDENT OBAMA TO END U.S. SUPPORT FOR SAUDI-LED COALITION IN YEMEN

January 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) led 22 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to use his final days in office to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition operation in Yemen. Human rights groups have documented over 70 unlawful airstrikes by the Coalition, routinely bombing schools, hospitals, and other civilian targets in what may constitute war crimes. Following a Coalition airstrike on a funeral that killed 130 people, the Administration began an internal review of U.S. assistance to Saudi Arabia, ultimately deciding to block a $350 million sale of precision-guided munitions kits while continuing to refuel Coalition aircraft.

LETTER EXCERPTS:

“You have been an amazing, transformational President.  In foreign policy, you showed the power of U.S. diplomacy.  There is, however, one disturbing issue that stands out as being inconsistent with who you are and who we are as a country: the continued U.S. military support for Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes that have killed mass numbers of civilians in Yemen.  These airstrikes—which have killed children, women, doctors, newlyweds and funeral mourners—are likely war crimes.  We respectfully ask you to do the right thing before you leave office and stop the U.S. refueling of Coalition aircraft that strike civilian targets in Yemen.”

“After an internal review of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen, your Administration on December 13th blocked a $350 million sale of 16,000 guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia.... But we are extremely puzzled that the Administration decided to continue the U.S. military operation of refueling the very same aircraft that strike civilian targets in Yemen.  This approach sends a mixed signal to Saudi Arabia and is logically and internally inconsistent.”

“In June 2016, 204 Members of the House on a bipartisan basis voted to block the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia after reports of their use in Yemen.  In September, 64 Members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging a delay in weapons sale to Saudi Arabia over concerns about civilian casualties and 27 Senators voted to halt a $1.15 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia.  These Congressional votes to block foreign weapons sales were the first in decades, demonstrating that the level of opposition to U.S. participation has risen to extraordinary levels.”

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER CAN BE FOUND HERE

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