RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has made it clear to the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars worth of American assets held by the Kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.
According to media reports, officials in Saudi Arabia have reportedly told the Obama administration that they will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible for any role in the September 11 attacks.
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia, one of the world top newspapers stated that the White House had been lobbying Congress to block the bill’s passage and that the threat from Saudi Arabia had been the subject of intense talks.
It said that Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister, delivered the Kingdom’s message last month during a trip to Washington telling legislators that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
A US commission established in the aftermath of the attacks also concluded there was no evidence of official Saudi connivance. However, the White House has been under pressure to declassify a 28-page section of the report that was never published on the grounds of national security.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who has read the report and Senator Bob Graham who co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry have said that the victims’ families deserved to read the report before Mr Obama visits the Middle East next week.
The families have been trying to use the courts to hold responsible members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities.
Yet these efforts have been largely blocked because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts.