The government agency that owns the World Trade Center site said Friday it intends to hold Saudi Arabia and nearly 100 other defendants liable for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the complex. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that it planned to join late Friday as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed a week ago by Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, a bond trading firm that lost two-thirds of its workers in the trade center attack. A Port Authority spokesman said shortly before 6 p.m. that the government agency had not yet filed its papers joining the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but that it planned to do so before midnight in an after-hours box at the court. The Cantor Fitzgerald lawsuit named as defendants Saudi Arabia, al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and other accused terrorists, along with financial institutions and charitable organizations that allegedly raised money for terrorism efforts, reports the Forbes. According to Reuters, the agency that owned the World Trade Centre says it will file a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for damages it suffered on September 11, 2001, noting 84 of its employees were killed in the air attacks that toppled the twin towers. "We also have a responsibility to the millions of people who live and work in the region as well as to our bondholders to pursue every legal avenue to recover the losses we sustained on September 11," the Port Authority said in a statement on Friday. Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, declined to say why the agency sought to hold Saudi Arabia responsible or whether it would also sue other entities. The Port Authority, a bi-state agency which leased New York's trademark twin towers in July 2001 to developer Larry Silverstein, noted it was filing the lawsuit just one day before the three-year statute of limitations runs out. Port Authority officials, who declined to comment publicly, are taking the action before the three-year statute of limitations expires tomorrow, the third anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed 2,749 people at the World Trade Center. The Port Authority leased the Twin Towers for $120 million a year and still owns the Lower Manhattan site. The lease-holder, Larry Silverstein, sought $7 billion in insurance proceeds to rebuild, but court decisions will limit him to a maximum of $3.5 billion, raising the prospect the Port Authority may have to help fund the redevelopment. "It is extremely novel for an American governmental body to try to bring a foreign sovereign (nation) before the U.S. courts," said Gregory Mark, a law professor at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. "And the reason it's unusual is it's usually held to be an interference in the foreign relations of the United States." Those familiar with the filing said there is unease within the Port Authority's hierarchy about taking such an action to protect the agency's financial interests. There is also concern, they said, that New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, might be wary of upsetting President Bush, who strongly supports Saudi Arabia, publishes the Star-Ledger. Read earlier news stories by PRAVDA.Ru
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