US lawmakers mull bill to ban arms sales to Saudi
October 25 2018 12:02 AM
Khashoggi: mystery
Jamal Khashoggi

Agencies Washington/London/Paris

* Saudi crown prince may be behind Khashoggi death: Trump
* British PM May says Saudi account of death lacks credibility
* France's Macron warns of possible sanctions against killers

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives that would stop most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Representative James McGovern said on his website.

The bill said President Donald Trump could request exceptions to the arms sale ban if he also submitted a report on a US investigation into anyone involved in "the murder of journalist and United States permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi".

The bill includes a prohibition on security assistance, intelligence, training and equipment but does not extend to activities related to safeguarding US diplomatic posts or personnel.

Earlier, Trump said Saudi Arabia's crown prince bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

In his toughest comments yet, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he wanted to believe the prince when he said that lower-level officials were to blame for the killing at the Saudi mission.

But he suggested that responsibility lay higher up: "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him."

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday that his country's explanation of Khashoggi's death in Turkey lacked credibility, her office said.

"The prime minister said the current explanation lacks credibility, so there remains an urgent need to establish exactly what happened," a Downing Street spokesperson said in a readout of a call between May and King Salman.

"She strongly urged Saudi Arabia to co-operate with the Turkish investigation and to be transparent about the results. It is important that the full facts are established."

Also, French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said he had told King Salman that France, in co-ordination with partners, could take action against those held responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, the Elysee Palace said.

Macron expressed profound outrage during a phone conversation with Salman, the French presidency said in a statement, adding that the president had asked the king that the circumstances around Khashoggi's death be fully disclosed.

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