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Connolly Amendment to Bar Military Education and Training Assistance to Saudi Arabia Included in FY 2020 Appropriations Package

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released the following statement after the House voted to include in H.R. 2740 his amendment barring Saudi Arabia from receiving assistance provided by the International Military Education and Training program.

“It has been eight months since Jamal Khashoggi, a legal US resident and my constituent, was brutally murdered and dismembered at the direction of the Saudi regime, and still President Trump continues to allow Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to evade justice,” said Connolly. “This is plainly unacceptable. The United States must take stock of our strategic interests in the region and reexamine our relationship with Saudi Arabia to guarantee that U.S. policy is rooted in American values, particularly respect for human rights. This starts by ensuring that foreign nations who abuse our trust and routinely violate our values system, as Saudi Arabia undoubtedly has, are not rewarded with streamlined access to American military expertise and support.”

Receipt of IMET assistance qualifies a foreign country for a discount on military training that it purchases through the Foreign Military Sales program. Traditionally, Saudi Arabia had received a nominal $10,000 in IMET assistance annually – but that funding enabled the Kingdom to save up to $30 million per year on its purchase of defense services. Connolly’s provision amends the State and Foreign Operations section of the spending package to expressly prohibit any International Military Education and Training funds for the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Full text of the amendment can be found here.
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