Pompeo blocks inclusion of Saudis on U.S. child soldiers list

Category : USA News
Updated On : June 19, 2019 02:08 AM
By Indian Times Daily

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The decision, which came after a fierce internal debate, could prompt new accusations by human rights advocates and some lawmakers that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is prioritizing security and economic interests in relations with oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally and arms customer.

Pompeo’s move comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, the Saudis’ bitter regional rival.

State Department experts recommended adding Saudi Arabia to the soon-to-be released list based in part on news reports and human rights groups’ assessments that the desert kingdom has hired child fighters from Sudan to fight for the U.S.-backed coalition in Yemen, the four sources said.

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