'9/11 bill could have disastrous consequences'

Saudi Arabia warns against United States law allowing 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom, after Congress overrides Obama's veto.

Ben Ariel,

Saudi flag
Saudi flag

Saudi Arabia on Thursday warned of "disastrous consequences" from a United States law allowing victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to sue the kingdom, AFP reported.

The law, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month, after it had been passed by the Senate in May.

President Barack Obama last Friday followed through with his threat to veto the controversial legislation.

Congress responded on Wednesday by overwhelmingly rejecting Obama’s veto and forcing the ball to become law. It was the first time during Obama’s term in office that a veto of his was overturned.

On Thursday, a foreign ministry source in Riyadh called on Congress "to take the necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences" of the law.

The unnamed spokesman, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the law is "a source of great worry."

JASTA allows attack survivors and relatives of terrorism victims to pursue cases against foreign governments in U.S. federal court and to demand compensation if such governments are proven to bear some responsibility for attacks on U.S. soil.

This law "weakens the immunity of states", and will have a negative impact on all countries "including the United States," the Saudi spokesman said, according to AFP.

He expressed hope that "wisdom will prevail."

In opposing the law, Obama said it would harm U.S. interests by undermining the principle of sovereign immunity, opening up the U.S. to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad.

Obama blasted Congress’ decision to override his veto on Wednesday night, telling CNN it was a political move and calling it a “mistake”.