Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Saudi Arabia

Newsline: Saudi King Appoints Son as Country’s Ambassador to US

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Prince Khaled bin Salman, as the country’s ambassador to the US, in a move said to point to strengthening ties to President Donald Trump. Prince Khaled is an Air Force pilot who has taken part in operations in Yemen and against ISIS, AP reports. The prince, who studied military aviation in the US and briefly attended both Harvard University and Georgetown, has been working as an adviser at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington since last year. Khaled’s position will allow Trump a direct line to the Saudi monarchy, further signalling warmer relations between the two powers after a cooling following the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with regional rival Iran.


Newsline: Saudi Embassy Confirms UK Attacker Had Been in Saudi Arabia

The man who killed four people outside Britain’s Parliament was in Saudi Arabia three times and taught English there, the Middle Eastern country’s embassy said. A Saudi Embassy statement released late Friday said that Khalid Masood taught English in Saudi Arabia from November 2005 to November 2006 and again from April 2008 to April 2009. The embassy said that he had a work visa. It said he returned for six days in March 2015 on a trip booked through an approved travel agent. The Saudi Embassy said that he wasn’t tracked by the country’s security services and didn’t have a criminal record there.


Newsline: Guinean diplomat found dead in Saudi Arabia

Five African people, suspected of killing a Guinean diplomat in Jeddah, were arrested pending investigation. The victim who worked as a financial director at his country’s consulate was found dead in his flat, reported Al Marsad. The killers confessed to murdering the Guinean official and stealing the sum of $324,900 from his flat, said Mecca Police media spokesman. They were referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution to face charges and stand trial.


Newsline: Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia intervenes to send home women caught in job fraud

Three Malayali women, who were cheated by a travel agent in Kerala, returned home after the intervention of Indian embassy. According to them, an Ernakulam-based agency had recruited 21 Malayali women for a Riyadh-based contracting company engaged in cleaning work of government hospitals.While signing the contract in Kerala, the agency had offered them SR1,500 as monthly salary and collected Rs 85,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh from them as fees. The women reached Riyadh on March 1, 2016. On reaching the Kingdom they were asked to sign a document in Arabic. They realized the double-dealing when they got first month’s salary of SR 800 against the promised SR 1,500. When complained they were told that the job contract they had signed in Kerala was not valid and their salary and other terms depend on the agreement in Arabic. As per the Saudi labor law, job contracts prepared abroad should not be amended. The Malayali women contacted the company and diplomatic mission through a community activist. They were reluctant to work at SR 800 as salary and expressed desire to return home but the company refused to release them. However, the Indian embassy pressurized the company to issue exit visas to the Malayali women.


Newsline: Iran sentences Saudi embassy attackers to jail

Iran has sentenced protesters accused of attacking Saudi Arabia’s embassy in response to the execution of a prominent cleric to up to six months in prison, their lawyer said Friday. Some of the defendants received three or six months in jail for disturbing public order while others were acquitted over the January attack, Mostafa Shabani said, quoted by the ISNA news agency. The suspects were cleared of the charge of destruction of the embassy, he said, without specifying how many people were convicted. In July, 21 suspects in the attack on the embassy in Tehran had appeared in court. Another 27 people were said to be facing trial but their fate is unclear. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia and some of its Sunni Muslim Gulf allies severed diplomatic relations with Shiite-ruled Iran after the incident.


Newsline: Iran court issues verdict in Saudi embassy attack

Iran’s judiciary has issued verdicts for 20 people accused of storming Saudi diplomatic missions in January and will announce them in the near future, an official was quoted as saying by the judiciary news agency on Tuesday. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with its Shi’ite Muslim rival Iran after protesters stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad in response to Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shi’ite cleric. The Iranian government condemned the assault and President Hassan Rouhani, keen to improve Tehran’s long-strained relations with its neighbours and the West, asked the judiciary to punish the protesters and prevent further attacks. The Mizan news agency quoted a judge as saying that the verdicts for 20 defendants had been issued and “will be announced soon.” He did not give the names of the 20 and did not say whether they had been convicted or not. Iran’s judiciary announced in April that more than 100 suspects had been arrested over the attack on the Saudi missions and 48 charged. All were released on bail. Assaults on foreign embassies have occurred throughout the Islamic Republic’s 37-year history, often harming its diplomatic relations. Protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in 1979, the Kuwaiti mission in 1987, Saudi Arabia in 1988, Denmark in 2006 and Britain in 2011. None of the assailants were convicted.


Newsline: British ambassador to Saudi Arabia becomes first senior diplomat to convert to Islam

The British ambassador to Saudi Arabia has become the first senior diplomat to convert to Islam and complete the Haj. Simon Collis, 60, said he had decided to convert to Islam ‘after spending 30 years in Muslim societies’. Mr Collis is married to Syrian Huda al-Mujarkech. He had previously served as Britain’s ambassador to Syria between 2007 until 2012, when diplomatic relations broke down between the UK and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. He has served in a string of Middle Eastern countries, including stints as ambassador in Iraq and Qatar and senior diplomatic positions in United Arab Emirates, Yemen, India and Tunisia.