Saudi Arabia has warned the US against passing a bill that could expose Riyadh to litigation over the September 11, 2001 attacks after threatening Washington with selling off its US-based assets.
AhlulBayt News Agency - Saudi Arabia has warned the US against passing a bill that could expose Riyadh to litigation over the September 11, 2001 attacks after threatening Washington with selling off its US-based assets.
If passed, the bill would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases “arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir delivered the latest warning in Geneva after meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry.
Jubeir said if the bill is signed off on, foreign investors would lose confidence in the United States.
“We say a law like this would cause an erosion of investor confidence,” Jubeir said.
He did not make it clear how the passage of the bill could scare capital away from the US since the bill is widely believed to be particularly geared toward highlighting Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks
The perpetrators of the attacks were mostly Saudi nationals and believed to have been linked to Saudi officials.
The Hill newspaper, which is published by Capitol Hill Publishing and covers congressional news, reported recently that Saudi Arabia had an army of Washington lobbyists to deploy as it tries to stop the US Congress from lending its blessing to the bill.
The New York Times reported last month that Riyadh had threatened to sell off up to USD 750 billion worth of Saudi assets in the US if the Congress passes the law.
The selling of the assets would prevent them from being frozen by US courts if American victims are enabled to sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 terror attacks.
Attempting to rationalize Riyadh’s opposition to the legislation, the top Saudi diplomat said, “In fact, what they are doing is stripping the principle of sovereign immunities, which would turn the world for international law into the law of the jungle.”
The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama, who recently visited the Saudi capital, will veto the legislation if it is passed.
Jubeir, however, refused to acknowledge that his remarks amounted to any form of threat and also downplayed the notion that the kingdom is using its wealth in favor of its political ambitions.
“I say you can warn. What has happened is that people are saying we threatened. We said that a law like this is going to cause investor confidence to shrink. And so not just for Saudi Arabia, but for everybody,” he said.
“We don’t use monetary policy and we don’t use energy policy and we don’t use economic policy for political purposes. When we invest, we invest as investors. When we sell oil, we sell oil as traders,” he claimed.