19:20 GMT +322 October 2019
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    A man lays a flower on a monument engraved with names of victims of the September 11th attacks, during a memorial event marking the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S., at the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in Jerusalem

    Gulf States Slam US Bill That Would Allow 9/11 Victims’ Families to Sue Saudis

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    The controversial legislation has been condemned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organization dominated by the Saudis.

    The White House confirmed on Monday that it will veto the bill, called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, after it was passed by the House of Representatives.

    GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani issued a statement on Monday prior to the White House statement, declaring that the law is “contrary to the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states.”

    The vote followed the release of 28 declassified pages from a congressional report on 9/11, which reignited speculations over possible links of the plane hijackers to Saudi government officials. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

    In 2015, a US District Court dismissed a case brought by family members of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, against the Saudi government for its alleged role in financing and sponsoring the attacks. The case was dismissed on the grounds that Saudi Arabia enjoyed sovereign immunity. JASTA would have overridden sovereign immunity claims, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar also issued statements against the bill on Monday.

    "H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has expressed the UAE's concern about the US Congress adopting the law referred to as the ‘Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.’ He said that this law is contrary to general liability rules and the principle of sovereignty enjoyed by states," the statement said.

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    Tags:
    JASTA, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, Gulf Cooperation Council, United Arab Emirates, White House, World Trade Center, New York, Saudi Arabia
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