BELGRADE – Saudi Arabia has condemned a U.S. law allowing families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks to sue the kingdom for damages, calling it a matter of “great concern,” RFE/RL reports.
“The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said on September 29, one day after the U.S. Congress enacted the law by overturning a veto by President Barack Obama.
The Saudi ministry expressed hope that the U.S. Congress would correct the legislation “to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue.”
Republican leaders of Congress conceded on September 29 that the law may have the unintended consequence of encouraging foreign lawsuits against the U.S. military for damages caused by U.S. military actions overseas.
They suggested that legislators may revise the law after the November elections, possibly narrowing its application to avoid such consequences.
Relatives of the nearly 3,000 people killed by the 9/11 attacks want to sue Riyadh because 15 out of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were Saudis.
Riyadh denies any involvement. While warning of dire consequences, it did not threaten any specific retaliation against the new law.