WASHINGTON - The White House expressed confidence on Monday that Saudi Arabia would not follow through on a reported threat to sell US assets if Congress passed a bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told US lawmakers that the country would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other US assets in response to the bill if it passed.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama did not support the legislation and would not sign it. The bill would allow the Saudi government to be sued in a US court for any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I'm confident that the Saudis recognize, just as much as we do, our shared interest in preserving the stability of the global financial system," Earnest told reporters.
Obama, who is traveling to Saudi Arabia later this week, said he opposes the bill because it could expose the United States to lawsuits from citizens of other countries.