U.S. lawmakers press for oversight of any Saudi nuclear deal

By REUTERS
February 28, 2019 23:35
1 minute read.
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WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday to ensure congressional oversight of any civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Last week Democratic lawmakers alleged in a report that top White House aides ignored warnings they could be breaking the law as they worked with former U.S. officials and a friend of President Donald Trump, in a group called IP3 International, to advance a multibillion-dollar plan to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.Under the Saudi Nuclear Proliferation Act, Congress would be required to approve any pacts authorizing U.S. companies to sell nuclear power technologies to the kingdom.

The bill was introduced by Senators Edward Markey, a Democrat, and Republican Marco Rubio. A similar bill was introduced in the House by Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, and Ted Yoho, a Republican.



"A government that cannot be trusted with a bone saw, should not be trusted with a nuclear weapon,” said Sherman. He was referring to the instrument investigators said was used to cut up the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Several of Trump's fellow Republicans have joined Democrats in blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi's death.

It was not immediately clear whether Thursday's legislation would get enough support to pass either chamber of Congress, but it underscored lawmakers' concern about the nuclear issue.

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