Kerry And Saudi Arabia Agree US ‘Vulnerable To JASTA Because Of Global Operations’


US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir agreed on the negative impact of passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) law on the concept of state sovereignty during a meeting in Washington on Thursday.

JASTA grants an exception to the legal principle of sovereign immunity in cases of terrorism on US soil, clearing the way for lawsuits seeking damages from the Saudi government, said Al-Arabiya.

“We also discussed possible ways to carry out justice while respecting and honoring the needs and rights of the victims of 9/11; this should be done in a way that does not expose American troops and American individuals who may be involved in operations in another country to danger,” Kerry said in a joint conference.

Al-Jubeir stressed the importance of the principle of state sovereignty, indicating that it is a fundamental principle of international law that was established after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1600. He added that the weakening of sovereignty would spread chaos internationally.

Al-Jubeir said the United States is vulnerable in this regard due to its operations, which stretch all the way from Japan to South America and the Pacific. “This reality has prompted many countries to reject the JASTA law altogether.”

The two also sides discussed the situations in Mosul, Libya and Yemen, said Al-Jubeir.

Regarding the Syrian crisis, Kerry expressed his desire to end the suffering of Aleppo through the outcomes of the talks hosted in Geneva.

On Yemen, Kerry stressed the importance of the Houthis’ commitment to a cease-fire.

Al-Jubeir revealed that there have been 150 violations of the cease-fire deal by Houthi fighters in Taiz alone, condemning the escalation of violence and stressing Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself and protect its territory.

“I want to emphasize that we have a right to defend ourselves, we have a right to protect our borders, we have a right to protect our citizens and we have to ensure that the other side maintains its commitment to the cessation of hostilities,” Al-Jubeir said.

The UN special envoy for Yemen on Friday urged “restraint” as the shaky truce took hold.

The cease-fire “is fragile but largely holding,” envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

He urged participants “to show restraint, avoid further escalation, and strictly adhere to the 72-hour cease-fire.”

The UN official is liaising with the parties in an attempt to extend the cease-fire in order “to create a conducive environment for a long-lasting peace” in Yemen.

The envoy also “reminds all parties that the terms and conditions” of the cease-fire “include commitments for the unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of Yemen.”

The truce, for an initial period of three days, took effect just before midnight on Wednesday to allow sorely needed aid deliveries in Yemen, where the conflict has left millions homeless and hungry.

Five previous truce attempts failed, but cautious optimism preceded the current pause after an escalation of combat led to intensified international pressure.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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