Ernst warns resolution to punish Saudis could hurt Yemen peace talks

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) warned on Tuesday that a resolution to withdraw American military support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the Yemeni civil war could hinder peace talks in the region.

Ernst, speaking at POLITICO’s Women Rule Summit, said that Saudi Arabia needs to be punished for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after visiting a Saudi embassy in Istanbul in October.

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But the Iowa senator said the focus should be on the peace talks instead of the Senate resolution, which is seen as a rebuke to Saudi Arabia and will likely get a vote this week.

“At some point, they will all merge together, but right now I think we really want to focus on getting through these peace talks so that the Houthis, the Saudis can work out some sort of agreement and then come back and revisit the Khashoggi murder,” Ernst said, adding that the U.S. was instrumental in getting the Houthis and Saudis together.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered Khashoggi’s death. President Donald Trump, however, has stated he is unsure whether Salman was involved and said the U.S. will continue to stand with Saudi Arabia.

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