September 13, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has criticised an anti-terror act passed by the United States Congress allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts and described it as clear violation for the United Nations principles.
- An American flag flies near the base of the destroyed World TradeCenter in New York on September 11, 2001 (Reuters/ file photo)
The U.S. House of Representatives Friday passed the legislation, named the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), by a unanimous voice vote. The Senate passed the bill in May, also by unanimous voice vote.
The legislation would permit the family members to file suit against the Saudi government for any possible role that its officials played in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 terror attacks were Saudi nationals.
The White House has hinted strongly it will veto the measure. President Barack Obama has lobbied fiercely against it, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens.
In a press release issued on Monday night, the Sudanese Presidency said it has followed with great surprise the approval of the legislation, pointing it is inconsistent with “the UN charter and the international law principles particularly with regard to the principle of sovereign equality”.
It warned that the legislation would pave the road for several countries to approve similar laws which would adversely impact on the whole international order, saying the move sets a serious precedent on the international relations and may cause significant economic damages.
The Sudanese Presidency expressed hope that the U.S. authorities would reconsider the legislation before it goes into effect in order to serve the interests of the whole world and to avoid its potential negative impact on the ongoing international efforts to combat terrorism.
“It [the legislation] would undermine the most important element in the dealings among the various nations which is the sovereign immunity, and it would significantly breach the international law which considers the sovereign equality and sovereign immunity of the states among its most important principles” read the press release
Meanwhile, a number of Arab Gulf nations including Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have condemned the legislation and demanded Washington to cancel the act.
Also, the Arab League (AL) said the relations between Arab nations and the U.S. would “strain” unless the American administration stops the JASTA.
In a statement on Monday, AL Secretary General, Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, expressed surprise over the approval of the bill, saying it contains provisions that are inconsistent with the principles of the UN charter and the well-established rules of international law.
He expressed hope that the U.S. administration could stop “this flawed law”, pointing to “its potential repercussions on the already unstable regional conditions”.
Abu al-Gheit further reaffirmed the AL’s unequivocal position of condemning all manifestations and forms of terrorism.
Last July, the Obama administration declassified 28 pages from the first congressional investigation into the 9/11 terror attacks.
The information in the pages lays out a number of circumstances that suggest it’s possible two of the 9/11 hijackers living in California had been receiving operational support from individuals loyal to Saudi Arabia in the months leading up to the attacks.