Riyadh–U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew said the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) could have “serious implications” for U.S. – Gulf interests.
In remarks on Thursday at the opening of the first joint meeting of the Cooperation Committee of the GCC Ministers of Finance and the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Lew said JASTA “would enact broad changes in long-standing international law regarding sovereign immunity that, if applied globally, could have serious implications for our shared interests.”
The U.S. Congress last month voted overwhelmingly to override President Barack Obama’s veto of JASTA.
The Treasury Secretary said the Obama administration has proven its determination to hold people responsible when they commit “horrendous acts”, but “there are ways to do that without undermining important international legal principles.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said that the joint meeting of the finance ministers of the GCC member states with the U.S. Treasury Secretary falls within the framework of the agreement between the leaders of the GCC member states and Obama to strengthen strategic ties between the two sides.
In a statement delivered at the outset of the meeting, Assaf said that officials discussed financial and economic relations and mutual cooperation between the Council and the U.S.
He noted that the meeting saw discussions over the possibility to forge a free trade agreement between the GCC countries and the U.S., as well as an agreement to avoid double taxation.
Assaf said participants also tackled the JASTA law, noting that the U.S. official has been urged to curb the serious consequences of this law, which has tremendous negative impacts on the United States and other countries.
Assaf valued the role assumed by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and his keenness to strengthen cooperation between GCC member states and the U.S.