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Saudi miffed, warns of disastrous consequences over US 9/11 law

Warning of “disastrous consequences” Saudi Arabia on Thursday reprimanded the US law allowing 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom. The bill is expected to escalate the tensions between the longstanding allies.

On Wednesday, the US Congress voted in complete majority to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) on relations between states. JASTA enables attack survivors and relatives of terrorism victims to lodge cases against foreign governments in US federal courts and to demand compensation if such governments are found guilty for any such attack in US.

As reported by NDTV, a Saudi foreign ministry source on Thursday called on the US Congress “to take the necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences” of the law. The spokesman’s identity was not revealed as cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, that said the law is “a source of great worry.”

Further adding to it they said that the law “weakens the immunity of states”, and will have a negative impact on all countries “including the United States.”  In opposing the law, Obama said it would harm US interests by undermining the principle of sovereign immunity, opening up the US to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad.

Reportedly a senior Saudi prince threatened to pull out billions of dollars of US assets if JASTA became law, even though Saudi officials have not acknowledged such threats.

“It will be very difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue in intelligence cooperation when they take such a hostile position,” said Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist and analyst.

He said Saudi officials are probably debating whether to act now or “wait until the first suit is filed in some small town in America.”

Also on Thursday, White House released a statement saying the Congress’s passage of a law allowing Sept. 11-related suits against Saudi Arabia was “an abject embarrassment” and that the administration was willing to talk to lawmakers about narrowing the measure’s impact.

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