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Archive for Saudi Arabia

Newsline: Saudi’s top diplomat says ‘too early’ to reopen Syria embassy

Saudi Arabia has ruled out reopening the kingdom’s embassy in Syria, saying it is “too early” to restore diplomatic ties with President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The comments were made on Mar. 4 by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who also said Saudi authorities would not take part in any reconstruction efforts in Syria without progress on a political process to end the country’s eight-year-old war. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/saudi-foreign-minister-early-reopen-syria-embassy-190304184023059.html) “The kingdom has always been keen on the integrity of the Syrian territory and the political solution,” al-Jubeir told a joint press conference with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.


Newsline: Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to the US

Saudi Arabia appointed its first female to serve as an ambassador for the kingdom, naming Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud to be ambassador to the United States. The princess, a member of the Saudi royal family, has been an advocate for women’s rights in the kingdom and widely seen as a rising political star in the country. She will replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/24/politics/saudi-appoints-us-ambassador/index.html) Princess Reema lived in Washington from roughly 1975 to 2005, according to a person close to her, while her father, Bandar bin Sultan al Saud, was Saudi’s ambassador to the US and as she attended George Washington University. Princess Reema has two teenaged children.

Newsline: Saudi ambassador to Germany worries dissidents in exile

Saudi Arabia has appointed a new ambassador to Germany. There are hopes he will help improve ties between the countries, but Saudi dissidents view his appointment with great concern following the Khashoggi murder. Saudi Arabia’s leader, King Salman, has appointed Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud as the monarchy’s new ambassador to Germany. While official channels at the Saudi and German foreign ministries have remained mute on the matter, Germany’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Jörg Ranau, used the embassy’s official Twitter account to congratulate the new ambassador in fluent Arabic: “We congratulate the newly nominated ambassador to Germany, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.” Faisal, who was born in Germany, in turn, thanked Ranau for his support — in perfect German. Before embarking on his diplomatic career, Faisal held high-ranking positions in Saudi and international companies, predominantly in the aviation and arms industry. He remains on the board of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI). Most recently, Faisal served as an adviser to Saudi King Salman and as an assistant to the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Saudi critics of the Gulf monarchy living in exile in Germany, however, see Faisal’s appointment with great concern. Saudi dissident Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud, a distant relative of Faisal, lives under police protection in Germany and said he fears the new ambassador could have been sent to Germany to persecute Saudi opposition figures such as himself (https://www.dw.com/en/saudi-ambassador-to-germany-worries-dissidents-in-exile/a-47505837). Khalid told DW he feels threatened and is extremely concerned about Faisal’s close relationship with powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is suspected of having a role in planning or at least condoning the assassination of Saudi dissent journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October.

Newsline: Morocco pulls out of Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, recalls ambassador to Riyadh

Move comes after a year of slow diplomatic breakdown concurrent with rise to power of Saudi crown prince. Morocco’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been told to remain in home capital Rabat for ‘consultations.’ Mustapha Mansouri was told by his superiors that he should not go back to Riyadh following a week-long visit back home, a move that is seen by observers as a way to express the North African kingdom’s dissatisfaction with the Saudi regime. Moroccan officials also confirmed the country was pulling its troops out of a Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government in a civil war that has become a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, throwing the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The decision seemed to have been sparked by the broadcast last week of a documentary doubting Morocco’s claims over the disputed Western Sahara region on the Saudi government-owned Al Arabiya. The documentary came just a month after Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen in an interview with Qatari channel Al Jazeera.


Newsline: Saudi Arabia not reopening Damascus embassy

Saudi Arabia dismissed news that it plans to reopen its embassy in Damascus. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs branded the reports untrue and baseless. An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the claims circulated by some electronic media as false. On a statement attributed to Dr Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on opening the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the official said they are untrue. The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian government back into the Arab fold. Nearly seven years later, the UAE flag was raised again during a ceremony attended by diplomats and journalists. UAE’s charge d’affaires Abdul Hakim Naimi visited the embassy and witnessed the country’s flag being raised again on the compound in central Damascus.


Newsline: Saudi facing assault charges in Canada flees after embassy posts bail

Officials in Canada say a 28-year-old Saudi Arabian man charged with sexually assaulting a Canadian woman has gone missing. Nova Scotia’s prosecution service said Monday that Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi had bail posted by the Saudi Arabian Embassy last year in the case involving allegations of sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement. A court document says the sheriff unsuccessfully tried to locate Alzoabi last month. His lawyer is quoted as saying that he fled Canada even though police had seized his passport.


Newsline: New footage shows Saudi hit squad entering Istanbul consulate

New footage emerged Wednesday showing the 15-member Saudi hit squad entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on the day Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. The footage, published by Anadolu Agency, showed several Saudis entering the perimeters of the consulate after arriving at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Turkish investigators say a 15-men Saudi “assassination” team was sent to Istanbul to murder dissident Khashoggi and dispose of his remains. The team suspected of carrying out the gruesome slaying includes a forensic doctor, a chemist, several Saudi military officials and the Saudi royal family’s security details. As part of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutors’ investigation, Istanbul police and Turkey’s intelligence agency examined 3,500 hours of CCTV footage from 80 different points of Istanbul.