Egypt 'carefully following' implications of US bill allowing 9/11 suits

Ahram Online , Thursday 29 Sep 2016

The Egyptian foreign ministry is following carefully the new bill that would allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue countries that 'sponsor terrorism'

A frame grab from video provided by C-SPAN2, shows the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, as the Senate acted decisively to override President Barack Obama's veto of Sept. 11 legislation. (Photo:AP)

Egypt is following with interest the consequences of Congress' decision to override President Barack Obama's veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian foreign ministry announced on Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt was carefully following the consequences of the legislation for the course of international relations.

On Wednesday, the US Senate approved overwhelming a vote overriding Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

The bill authorises US courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official. Legal experts say the bill could allow the families of those killed on September 11 to sue the Saudi Arabian government, as 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Previously, the Egyptian foreign ministry stated that Obama's veto of the legislation upheld international law as it supported the principles of sovereign equality and state immunity by avoiding the imposition of domestic laws on other countries.

Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, was an Egyptian national, although it is unclear if Egypt could potentially be sued under the new legislation.

Several hashtags in Arabic, #JASTA_law and #11_September, were trending on Thursday morning in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia, with social media users debating the possible consequences of the new law.

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