USA congress.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

A Saudi-led Gulf alliance on Monday said it was “extremely worried” about the US Congress’ passage of legislation allowing families of those killed in the September 11 suicide hijackings to sue foreign sponsors they believe were behind the attacks.

Family members of victims have long sought to sue Saudi Arabia, claiming links between the kingdom and the terrorist network al-Qaeda, which was behind the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Head of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Abdel-Latif al-Zayani, warned that the bill will have “negative consequences" on international relations.

“The GCC countries consider this American legislation contradicting the fundamentals and principles of relations among countries and the principle of sovereign immunity they enjoy,” al-Zayani said in a statement carried by the official Saudi news agency SPA.

“Violating this established principle will have negative consequences on relations among the countries including the US and will cause global economic harms,” he added without elaborating.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The US House of Representatives on Friday approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, following passage of identical legislation in May by the Senate.

US President Barack Obama will now decide on the measure, which he has strongly opposed.

If the legislation is vetoed, Congress could pass an override with two-third supermajorities in both chambers.

According to media reports, Saudi officials have threatened to sell the kingdom's assets in the US if such legislation becomes law.

Saudi Arabia is a key regional ally of the US.

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