London-Washington- White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced on Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama will be using his right to veto a bill passed by congress last week.
The bill called Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) would allow families of the victims of the September 11 terror attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts.
Earnest reiterated the White House’s fear that the measure would open up U.S. citizens to legal action overseas if foreign countries pass reciprocal measures.
“This law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” he said.
The GCC has condemned JATSA, and said that such legislation undermines international relations and may affect counterterrorism cooperation between Washington and its Gulf allies.
The bill, which President Obama strongly opposes, is “contrary to the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” the GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al Zayani said.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, also criticized the bill the state news agency Wam reported.
“This law is not equal with the foundations and principles of relations among states, and represents a clear violation given its negative repercussions and dangerous precedents,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
Sheikh Abdullah said the law would “negatively affect international efforts and cooperation to combat terrorism”, and that the UAE was looking forward to congress reviewing the law and not ratifying it.
The US senate voted unanimously in support of JASTA in May.
The house followed suit on Friday, passing the bill unanimously by voice vote. The White House has said that Obama would veto the bill.