Friday 14 December 2018 9:02 am

US Senate passes resolution blaming Saudi Crown Prince for Khashoggi death

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The US Senate has passed a resolution on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, putting the blame firmly at the feet of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In a rare move against the wishes of US President Donald Trump, who has maintained the Crown Prince's innocence to date, seven Republicans joined Democrat lawmakers to back the measure late last night.

The move was a largely symbolic one, however, as to become law the resolutions must be passed through the House of Representatives whose Republican leaders have largely blocked attempts to rebuke the Saudis to date.

Senators also voted to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition involved in Yemen's civil war, in a second blow to the President. It was the first time either chamber has backed a resolution to withdraw US forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act, which limits the President's ability to act without congressional approval.

The Senate's unanimous resolution called on Saudi Arabia to hold accountable anyone responsible for the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed upon entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. 

Trump has refused to recognise Saudi Arabia's role in the murder, despite an assessment by US intelligence that it was likely the Crown Prince ordered the killing. He also promised to veto the Yemeni resolution.

Asked to comment on the Khashoggi resolution, a White House spokesperson noted sanctions imposed on 17 Saudis over the killing and told reporters: "Our shared strategic interests with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remain, and we continue to view as achievable the twin imperatives of protecting America and holding accountable those responsible for the killing."