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The US Senate has advanced a measure to withdraw American support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, in a blow to President Donald Trump.

Many senators are unhappy with Mr Trump’s response to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had urged senators not to back the motion, saying it would worsen the situation in Yemen.

However, senators voted 63-37 to take forward the bipartisan motion.

Why are senators unhappy with Trump?

Criticism of Saudi Arabia has grown since Khashoggi, a US resident, was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on 2 October.

US media have said the CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered his killing.

However, President Trump has dismissed the report, saying the CIA had not drawn firm conclusions.

He has described Saudi Arabia as a vital ally and resisted calls for sanctions against the kingdom’s leadership.

Senators are also unhappy that CIA director Gina Haspel did not attend their closed session hearing on relations with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Ms Haspel has heard what Turkey claims is a recording of Khashoggi’s murder and has studied evidence in the case. One senator described her absence as a “cover-up”.

“It’s time to send Saudi Arabia a message, both on its violation of human rights and the incredible humanitarian catastrophe it’s creating in Yemen,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “We have a problem here. We understand that Saudi Arabia is an ally, of sorts, and a semi-important country. We also have a crown prince that’s out of control.”

A similar resolution came up for a Senate vote earlier in the year and failed to pass, the BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher reports from Washington.

But the climate is different now, and senators are more and more concerned about the way Saudi Arabia is conducting the war, citing its terrible toll on civilians, our correspondent adds. Read more

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