PASCRELL OPPOSES WEAPONS SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today made the following statement regarding the Administration's proposed sale of high tech weaponry to Saudi Arabia:
"Saudi Arabia is one of the least democratic nations in the Middle East and has the one of the worst human rights records, exactly the kind of nation we should be shunning, not rewarding," stated Pascrell. "This Administration is holding Saudi Arabia up as an example for the entire region, an example that we believe should not be replicated."
On July 30, Secretary Rice announced negotiations for a multi-billion dollar arms sale package to the Saudi Arabian government, and is conducting meetings today in the region with Secretary Gates. The package includes Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM's), satellite guided bombs accurate enough to shoot through the window of a building from jets in any weather. The United States has never sold such advances munitions to Saudi Arabia before. The sale would also upgrade the capability of the Saudi Air Force and provide new naval vessels.
Congress may reject any large arms sale according to the Arms Control Export Act of 1976. The President is required to officially notify Congress of an impending arms deal, who then has 30 days to trigger a review and pass a Joint Resolution of Disapproval.
"At best, this policy will lead to a regional arms buildup, literally meaning that we are adding gas to the fires that are already burning in the Middle East. Clearly, if we say we are a nation that values democracy, if we say we hold nations accountable for human rights, if we say we want to see peace in the Middle East, then we have no justification for this arms sale to Saudi Arabia."