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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a US 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, Reuters reported.

The decision, which drew immediate criticism from human rights activists and a top Democratic Party lawmaker, could prompt new accusations that US President Donald Trump’s administration is prioritizing security and economic interests in relations with oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a major US ally and arms customer.

State Department experts recommended adding Saudi Arabia to the aforesaid list, but Pompeo rejected this recommendation from the experts.

The child soldiers’ list will be part of the State Department’s annual global Trafficking in Persons report, which is due to be released on Thursday in a ceremony led by Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump, the US president’s daughter.

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