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U.S. Senate Clears Way for $1.15 bln Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cherry trees are in full bloom in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Washington-The U.S. Senate cleared the way for a $1.15 billion sale of arms to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, despite some efforts to put obstacles to the deal.

The Senate voted 71 to 27 to kill legislation that would have stopped the sale of tanks and other military equipment.

The overwhelming vote stopped an effort led by Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to block the deal over concerns including Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen and worries that it might fuel an ongoing regional arms race.

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that he intended to aggressively oppose efforts to disapprove the arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

“It is important to the United States to maintain as good a relationship with Saudi Arabia as possible,” he said.

McConnell also described Saudi Arabia as a good ally.

The Pentagon announced on Aug. 9 that the State Department had approved the potential sale of more than 130 Abrams battle tanks, 20 armored recovery vehicles and other equipment to Saudi Arabia.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said General Dynamics Corp would be the principal contractor for the sale.