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Obama Adamant to Veto JASTA Bill | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Barack Obama looks down as he makes remarks during his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Washington- White House spokesman Eric Schultz has said that U.S. President Barack Obama has received “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) bill which was endorsed by the majority of the House of Representatives last Friday.

The White House now has the bill and Obama intends to veto it, said Schultz during Obama’s visit to participate in an electoral conference in support of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The reason behind the rejection of the bill is that it contradicts with U.S. policies adopted in the international arena in the past decades, added Schultz.

Schultz warned of the consequences of the bill’s adoption. He did not specify the time Obama will take before rejecting the bill but confirmed that it will be turned down by the White House.

Schultz added that allowing individuals to file lawsuits might undermine sovereign immunity, which in turn would negatively affect U.S. diplomats and companies abroad.

For the past months, U.S. administration officials have been warning of this bill’s risks. They stated that it might damage relations with Saudi Arabia and might also lead other countries to enact similar bills that permit suing Americans in return.

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser to Obama, said that the U.S. president will use his veto right for a couple of reasons. Obama fears that some U.S. soldiers and diplomats might be subjected to lawsuits filed by foreign governments.

“If Obama rejected the bill and the Congress passed it, the bill might be implemented following the presidential elections knowing that some of the Congress members will retire while others will lose the elections,” added Ross.

Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at CSIS, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “eyes can’t be closed on the debate occurring between the U.S. administration and the Congress.”

Alterman added that Obama’s stance of the bill is unlikely to affect Clinton who is a main backer of the law.