President Donald Trump has dismissed a reported Central Intelligence Agency assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was to blame for his killing in Istanbul in October.
The vote to advance the resolution, which passed by 63-37, comes as Yemen is in dire crisis.
"Clearly we would not want this to be a time when, in any way, Canada starts to back away", he said.
USA intelligence officials believe the Saudi crown prince must have at least known of the plot to kill him.
The Tunisian president decorated the Crown Prince with the Order of the Republic.
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Secretary Mattis avoided questions about the Crown Prince's role in the murder after briefing the senators, telling reporters, "we have no smoking gun" that he was involved. Saudi Arabia's alleged human rights violations are not limited to that country but have expanded beyond its borders, since there is an endless war in Yemen. "This is not an ally that deserves our support or military intervention on its behalf, especially when our own security is not itself on the line". Growing interest in showing the Saudis that, Khashoggi or no, the United States still supports them, has meant that Yemen is once again a low priority.
But Harnett said commissioners were outraged by Khashoggi's killing, as well as President Trump's reaction to it, and felt the need to take action on an global issue.
The conflict between Saudi-led military coalition and Houthi rebels has killed thousands of people and pushed millions more Yemenis to the brink of starvation.
But the moment represented a highly symbolic act of defiance, coming a few hours after the administration had wheeled out two of its biggest guns, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and defence secretary, James Mattis, to brief the entire senate on the essential importance to U.S. national security of USA support for the Saudi-led coalition.
"The Tunisian people have a special place among the Saudi people and the two countries are always working to improve relations for the benefit of the two nations", the Crown Prince told Al Arabiya.
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When asked after the briefing about the Trump administration's position on the Saudi crown prince's involvement in Khashoggi's killing, Pompeo suggested there was no conclusive evidence. By a bipartisan 63-37 vote, the Senate opted to move forward with legislation calling for an end to USA involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The Senate on Wednesday voted across party lines to move forward a bill that would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen.
Amnesty International Canada also welcomed the sanctions - and also said that banning further shipments of armoured vehicles should be part of Canada's response.
"Tunisia will announce in a few days important deals with Saudi, including a loan with low interest rate, agreements on investment and other important details", Nourredine Ben Ticha, an advisor to the president, told state television.
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The US president said it was a "great deal for the EU" and may leave the United Kingdom unable to trade with the US. She said: "It will be one of the most significant votes that Parliament has held for many years".