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“JASTA” Enactment Slammed by Saudi Arabia, Obama | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Barack Obama. Thomson Reuters

Washington – Riyadh – A decision by the U.S. Senate to reject President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia’s Government stirred a wave of international condemnations, while the Saudi foreign affairs ministry said the enactment of the U.S. legislation would leave a negative impact on all nations.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the enactment of the “Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) is of “great concern to the community of nations that object to the erosion of the principle of sovereign immunity, which has governed international relations for hundreds of years.”

Quoted by SPA, the foreign ministry source further stated that the erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States.

It added that JASTA has been opposed publicly by many nations as well as dozens of American national security experts who see the dangers that the law represents.

The official source hoped that “wisdom will prevail and that Congress will take the necessary steps to correct this legislation in order to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue.”

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 348-77 against the veto, hours after the Senate rejected it 97-1, meaning the JASTA will become law.

Speaking after the Senate vote, Obama said he believed Congress’ decision was a “mistake” and “basically a political vote”.
“It’s a dangerous precedent, and it’s an example of why sometimes you have to do what’s hard,” he told a forum of military veterans in Virginia.

U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday that the new law would have an impact on U.S. foreign policies.

He expressed concern over the consequences that JASTA might have over the relations with Saudi Arabia, especially with regards to the strong U.S.-Saudi cooperation in fighting ISIS.