Arab states raise con­cern over US 9/11 bill

The Myanmar Times - - World -

GULF Arab states ex­pressed con­cern over a bill passed by the US Congress that would al­low rel­a­tives of vic­tims of the 9/11 at­tacks to sue Saudi Ara­bia for com­pen­sa­tion.

The six-mem­ber Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil, of which Saudi Ara­bia is the most pow­er­ful mem­ber, ex­pressed “pro­found worry”, the bloc’s sec­re­tary gen­eral, Ab­dul­latif al-Zayani, said on Septem­ber 12.

He said the law “con­tra­venes the foun­da­tions and prin­ci­ples of re­la­tions be­tween states, no­tably sov­er­eign im­mu­nity”.

The US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the Jus­tice Against Spon­sors of Ter­ror­ism Act by an unan­i­mous voice vote on Septem­ber 9.

The Se­nate had ap­proved the bill four months ago and it now goes be­fore Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

The White House has sig­nalled that he is likely to veto the bill but his veto can be over­rid­den by a twothirds ma­jor­ity of both houses.

Mr Zayani ex­pressed hope that the US ad­min­is­tra­tion “will not en­dorse this law ... which will cre­ate a grave prece­dent”.

Saudi Ara­bia is a long­stand­ing US ally but it was also home to 15 of the 19 al-Qaeda hi­jack­ers who car­ried out the Septem­ber 11, 2001, at­tacks on the United States which killed nearly 3000 peo­ple.

The draft law would al­low sur­vivors and rel­a­tives of ter­ror­ism vic­tims to pur­sue cases in US fed­eral court against for­eign gov­ern­ments and de­mand com­pen­sa­tion if such gov­ern­ments are proven to bear some re­spon­si­bil­ity for at­tacks on US soil.

Two GCC mem­bers – Qatar and the United Arab Emi­rates – also is­sued their own sep­a­rate statements crit­i­cis­ing the bill. –

Photo: EPA

Ab­dul­latif al-Zayani feels the law is a threat to sov­er­eign im­mu­nity.

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