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Gulf States Express Concern Over US 9/11 Legislation

FILE - (L-R) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi King Salman, and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stand together as Saudi Arabia's cabinet agrees to implement a broad reform plan.

Gulf Arab states have expressed concern over a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that would allow families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to sue the Saudi government for allegedly supporting terrorism.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Saudi Arabia is a key member, said the legislation "contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states, notably sovereign immunity."

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation Friday, despite White House threats to veto the bill. The Senate passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in May.

The White House's opposition to the legislation stems from concern it could weaken U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia, expose U.S. citizens overseas to legal risks and open the door to lawsuits against the U.S. from foreign countries. A White House veto can be overridden with votes from at least two-thirds of House and Senate members.

Fifteen of the 19 airline hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks were Saudi nationals, but Riyadh has denied allegations it had any role in the attacks or supported organizations with ties to terrorist groups.

The House vote on Friday came two months after Congress released 28 declassified pages from a congressional report about suspected Saudi connections to the attacks. The papers did not significantly add to information that was publicly disclosed in other reports and documents.