First Saudi ambassador takes office in Washington

Princess Rima Bint Bandar Al-Saud on Monday presented her credentials to US President Donald Trump in Washington, becoming the first Saudi ambassador to take office.

“I can not wait to start this new chapter of my life in Washington,” Princess Rima wrote on her Twitter account.

“Congratulations,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Looking forward to working with you in your new role as ambassador to the United States, as we strengthen US-Saudi relations and face common challenges.”

It was last February that Saudi Arabia had appointed Princess Rima to this post, at a time when relations between the two allies were undermined by the Khashoggi affair.

She replaces in Washington Prince Khaled ben Salman, younger brother of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appointed Deputy Minister of Defense.

Princess Rima is the daughter of Prince Bandar ben Sultan, who was ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. A lawyer and activist for women’s rights, she has campaigned for a greater participation of women in Saudi sports. .

His appointment came as the image of Saudi leaders was deeply tarnished following the assassination by a Riyadh commando of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body was dismembered, but his remains, left the diplomatic enclosure, were never found.

In a report released in mid-June, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnès Callamard, claimed that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of “extrajudicial executions for which the State of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” and Investigation into the responsibility of senior officials, “including that of the Crown Prince,” Mohammed ben Salman, must take place, she added.

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