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US: White House threatens to veto bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudis

India TV News Desk 19 Apr 2016, 12:18:27 PM IST
India TV News Desk

Washington: The White House has  expressed confidence that  Saudi Arabia would not follow through on a reported threat to sell U.S. assets, if  Congress vetoes a bill that would allow the 9/11 terror attacks victims to sue the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly threatened to offload its $750 billion investment if the US Congress passes the legislation. "It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the President would sign the bill as it's currently drafted," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference on Sunday.

President Barack Obama, he said, believes that the most effective way to advance the interests particularly as it relates to countering violent extremism and counter terrorist organisations around the world, is to use American military where necessary to protect the American people but to try to work cooperatively with other countries around the world to advanced our shared interest.

"Since 9/11 we have seen a genuine focus on the part of the Saudis to counter those who seek to propagate extremist ideology. We recognise and the Saudis now recognise just how dangerous that is, and the US and Saudi Arabia now work together to counter those who seek to advance these ideologies," he said. "We do that in a way that demonstrates the ability of our two nations to cooperate, particularly on issues that are important to national security of the citizens in both our countries," he added.

"I feel confident in telling you that the Saudis recognise the shared interest that the US and Saudi Arabia have in protecting the stability of the international financial system," he said when asked about the reported threat by Saudi to withdraw $750 billion it has invested in the US market. Obama is headed to the Saudi Arabia later this week. "I don't know that this issue is going to come up in their meetings, in part because I'm confident that the Saudis recognise, just as much as we do, our shared interest in preserving the stability of the global financial system," he said.

"Our concerns about this law are not related to its impact on our relationship with one particular country. In fact, our concern is about an important principle of international law, the whole notion of sovereign immunity is at stake," he added. "It is one that has more significant consequences for the US than any other country. The concern that we have is simply this: it could put United States, and our taxpayers, and our service members and our diplomats at significant risk, if other countries were to adopt a similar law," he said.

(PTI inputs)