Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Saudi Arabia

Newsline: Saudi diplomat approved in Lebanon, ending diplomatic tussle

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon has assumed office after presenting his credentials to the president, ending a diplomatic tussle between the two countries. Ambassador Walid al-Yaacoubi and his Lebanese counterpart in Saudi Arabia were caught in an apparent dispute over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other’s diplomat, though both were named months ago. The delay highlighted lingering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon following the bizarre, now-reversed resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh. Al-Yaacoubi presented his credentials to President Michel Aoun Wednesday, after Lebanese Ambassador Fawzi Kabbara, a member of Hariri’s political party, was approved in Riyadh. He had been named to the post in July but remained unaccredited in Saudi Arabia.



Newsline: Saudi, Lebanese ambassadors caught in diplomatic tussle

Lebanon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and his Saudi counterpart are caught in what appears to be a diplomatic tussle over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other’s diplomat. Both were named months ago. The delay highlights tension between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon following the bizarre, now-reversed resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh. A Lebanese diplomat said Wednesday the issue would be “resolved soon.” The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, didn’t elaborate. “Diplomatic procedures will be followed,” the diplomat said. “We are committed to positive and good relations with Saudi Arabia.” The issue came up in the Cabinet’s meeting Tuesday. Government official Pierre Abi Assi told reporters following the meeting that Hariri is “keen on finding the appropriate resolution as soon as possible.” Lebanon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a member of Hariri’s political party, was named to the post in late July but remains unaccredited. The outgoing ambassador remains in the post on acting capacity. Saudi Arabia named its ambassador in September. Ambassador Walid al-Yaacoubi arrived in Lebanon in November, but still has not been sworn in. There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials.


Newsline: Beirut Responds to Riyadh by Snubbing New Saudi Ambassador

The Lebanese government has been postponing the official reception of the new Saudi ambassador, apparently over Riyadh’s alleged involvement in the incident with the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah reported. According to the newspaper, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has not yet scheduled a date to receive Ambassador Walid al-Yaqoub, who arrived in Lebanon nearly a month ago and since then has not been able to start his work. Earlier, Riyadh reportedly delayed the reception of the new Lebanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia. According to the newspaper, Lebanon may also be delivering a response to that move. In November, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a visit in Saudi Arabia. He later returned home and withdrew his resignation. Beirut considers the incident part of Riyadh’s attempts to meddle in Lebanon’s affairs.


Newsline: Belgium becomes first country to make a woman its ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Belgium has become the first country in the world to appoint a woman as its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, in an apparent show of defiance to the oil-rich autocracy notorious for its abuses of women’s rights. Dominique Mineur, who is currently posted in the United Arab Emirates, will move to the Saudi capital Riyhad to head up the embassy there from next summer, Belgian public broadcaster VRT reports. The public broadcaster cites Belgian government sources saying Ms Mineur’s appointment sends a “clear signal” to Saudi Arabia, which has been slow to reform in comparison to its neighbouring countries.


Newsline: Saudi Arabian Embassy Says The Buyer Of The Da Vinci Painting Is Not The Saudi Crown Prince

The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C. issued a statement on December 8 in response to a Wall Street Journal report that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the true buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold at auction in November for a record breaking $450 million. The embassy says in its statement that the “art work was acquired by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism for display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.” Auction house Christie’s released a statement shortly after, corroborating the embassy’s version of the sale. “Christie’s can confirm that the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi is acquiring ‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo da Vinci,” the statement read. “We are delighted to see that this remarkable painting will be available for public view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”


Newsline: Saudi female diplomats are making great progress

Women are thriving in the diplomatic service, a government spokesman has said. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has employed women since 2008, when the first female competitive examination for diplomatic posts was advertised. The official MOFA spokesperson and director of media, Ambassador Osama Nugali, said: “In spite of the fact that Saudi women have recently entered the diplomatic scene, they are advancing in their diplomatic career path.” Nugali added: “Diplomatic posts for both men and women start at the rank of an attache (equivalent to grade 6 in public services) and end at the rank of an ambassador (equivalent to grade 15). Additionally, top leadership positions for men and women alike require experience in diplomacy that is accumulated over the years.”


Newsline: Saudi Arabia summons ambassador from Germany over Lebanon comments

Saudi Arabia has summoned its ambassador in Germany home for consultations over comments by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel about the political crisis in Lebanon. The Saudi foreign ministry said the government also handed Germany’s representative in Riyadh a protest note over what it said were “shameful” comments Gabriel made after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart. After a meeting in Berlin with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Gabriel told reporters that Europe “could not tolerate the adventurism that has spread there”. It was not clear from a Reuters television recording that the remark was targeted at Saudi Arabia. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned while in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4. “Such remarks provoke the surprise and disapproval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which considers them as aimless and based on false information that would not help bring about stability in the region,” the Saudi ministry said. The ministry later said on its Twitter account it had summoned the German ambassador in Riyadh and handed him “a protest memorandum over the shameful and unjustified remarks made by the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.” Hariri’s abrupt resignation has raised concern over Lebanon’s stability.