Biden’s team seeks to stop Saudi arms deals that help him attack others By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United States President Biden participates in an event on coronavirus vaccines in the United States at the White House in Washington.

By Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After pausing $ 500 million in arms deals with Saudi Arabia due to concerns for victims in Yemen, President Joe Biden’s administration may change US policy not only to cancel past deals that raise human rights concerns, but limit future military sales to “defensive” weapons. Four sources familiar with the administration’s thinking said officials are evaluating the variety of military equipment and training included in the sales to the Saudis to determine what can be considered defensive. Those agreements would be allowed. A State Department spokesman said: “Our goal is to end the conflict in Yemen, including while ensuring that Saudi Arabia has everything it needs to defend its territory and its people,” adding that Biden has pledged to put end to US military support for the military campaign against the Houthis. The Biden administration is recalibrating its relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it has serious human rights concerns but is also one of Washington’s closest allies. “They’re trying to figure out where the lines are drawn between offensive weapons and defensive things,” said a congressional aide familiar with the matter, describing the process.

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