Saudi Arabia lobbies US over 9/11 JASTA law
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir had been “trying to persuade” US legislators to change the JASTA law
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters on Sunday that he had been “trying to persuade” US legislators to change a law allowing victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to sue the kingdom.
According to Agence France-Presse, Jubeir said he had returned from a US visit in which he had been trying “to persuade them that there needs to be an amendment of the law", the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).
"We believe the law, that curtails sovereign immunities, represents a grave danger to the international system," Jubeir said at a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry.
In September, the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to override President Barack Obama's veto of the JASTA.
Riyadh denies any ties to fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks and killed nearly 3,000 people.
JASTA allows attack survivors and relatives of terrorism victims to pursue cases against foreign governments in US federal court, and to demand compensation if those governments are proven to bear some responsibility for attacks on US soil.
In opposing the law, Obama said it would harm US interests by opening up the United States to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad.
"The United States is, by eroding this principle, opening the door for other countries to take similar steps and then before you know it international order becomes governed by the law of the jungle," Jubeir said.
He added that the US itself would suffer most from the erosion of sovereign immunity.
"The question now becomes how do you go about amending the law", he said.