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USA: White House criticises Senate bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue S. Arabia01:35

USA: White House criticises Senate bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue S. Arabia

United States, Washington D.C.
May 17, 2016 at 16:05 GMT +00:00 · Published

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the so-called "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" would “change long standing international law regarding sovereign immunity," at Tuesday’s press briefing in Washington D.C., after the US Senate unanimously adopted the bill earlier in the morning.

Earnest told the press that "I know that the advocates of this legislation have suggested that they have taken into account our concerns by more narrowly tailoring the legislation, but unfortunately their efforts were not sufficient to prevent longer term unintended consequences that we are concerned about."

He went on to say that "there is also a concern that hasn't got as much attention about the potential vulnerability that is created for some of our allies and partners in US courts. The concern is related to the fact that sovereign immunity is a principle that is critical to our national security."

The bill has faced opposition from the White House and US allies such as Saudi Arabia, because it gives US citizens the right to sue nation-states for possible links to 'terrorist' attacks on US soil and thus creates an exception to the doctrine of sovereign immunity established by a 1976 law. The law has hitherto guarded Saudi Arabia against potential lawsuits over the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen out of the 19 plane hijackers held Saudi nationality at the time of the attacks.

The House of Representatives is due to vote next on the bill, for which it has several amendments.

USA: White House criticises Senate bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue S. Arabia01:35
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White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the so-called "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" would “change long standing international law regarding sovereign immunity," at Tuesday’s press briefing in Washington D.C., after the US Senate unanimously adopted the bill earlier in the morning.

Earnest told the press that "I know that the advocates of this legislation have suggested that they have taken into account our concerns by more narrowly tailoring the legislation, but unfortunately their efforts were not sufficient to prevent longer term unintended consequences that we are concerned about."

He went on to say that "there is also a concern that hasn't got as much attention about the potential vulnerability that is created for some of our allies and partners in US courts. The concern is related to the fact that sovereign immunity is a principle that is critical to our national security."

The bill has faced opposition from the White House and US allies such as Saudi Arabia, because it gives US citizens the right to sue nation-states for possible links to 'terrorist' attacks on US soil and thus creates an exception to the doctrine of sovereign immunity established by a 1976 law. The law has hitherto guarded Saudi Arabia against potential lawsuits over the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen out of the 19 plane hijackers held Saudi nationality at the time of the attacks.

The House of Representatives is due to vote next on the bill, for which it has several amendments.

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