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State Department intends to move forward with sale of fighter jets to Bahrain without human rights conditions

Congress has the chance to review and object to the sale

(CNN) —  

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has notified Congress the State Department intends to waive human rights conditions attached to the sale of fighter jets to Bahrain, Senate Foreign Relations spokeswoman Micah Johnson confirmed to CNN.

The Obama administration signed off on the sale of F-16 fighter jets last year, but included conditions tied to the human rights record of Bahrain, a Middle East ally and home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

The State Department notified Congress on Wednesday it intends to move forward on the sale without the conditions, Johnson said. Congress has the chance to review and object to the sale.

“This type of conditionality would be unprecedented and counterproductive to maintaining security cooperation and ultimately addressing human rights issues,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said in a statement. “There are more effective ways to seek changes in partner policies than publicly conditioning weapons transfers in this manner.”

The New York Times first reported the State Department’s decision to remove the human rights conditions.