Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to United States

Brexit Britain Enjoys Record Budget Surplus as EU Faces Black Hole in Coffers		ARIS OIKONOMOU  AFP  Getty Images22 Feb 2019

"The appointment of Princess Reema represents a new beginning, trying to polish the image of Saudi Arabia and reinforce the image of the king and his son as reformers", said Fawaz A. Gerges, professor of worldwide relations at the London School of Economics.

The kingdom's strict guardianship laws were highlighted last month after teenager Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, made a dramatic escape from the country, citing an abusive family and state-sponsored oppression.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, a daughter of the kingdom's longtime ambassador to Washington Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, faces a stark challenge in improving ties between the US and Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, he expressed thanks and appreciation for the royal trust in appointing him as Deputy Minister of Defense.

The Post, citing unnamed sources in November, also reported that United States intelligence agencies reviewed a phone call that Prince Khalid had with Khashoggi, in which he allegedly told the writer he'd be safe going to the consulate to retrieve the documents he needed to get married.

Princess Reema holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Vernon College at George Washington University in the United States, the agency said.

Prince Khalid, a former fighter pilot, had been ambassador to Washington for less than two years.




The gathering in the Red Sea resort comes against a backdrop of diplomatic tensions between the European Union and Saudi rulers over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October.

Prince Khalid returns to Riyadh as a deputy defense minister.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the previous ambassador to the U.S., abruptly left the USA in October past year as the kingdom began to be pressed over its varying explanations for Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and murder in Istanbul, and did not return until December. She had promoted greater inclusion for Saudi women in sports and breast cancer awareness, according to her official biography.

"As the Yemen war drags on and the military reform programme continues to move painstakingly slow, Prince Khalid is gaining a hard portfolio but one that is critical to his father, brother and the kingdom", Becca Wasser, a policy analyst at the US-based RAND Corporation, told AFP.

Shihabi said Prince Khalid will virtually have the same authority as the defence minister, shouldering some of the burden on the crown prince.

Earlier this month, the US House voted overwhelmingly to end American involvement in Saudi Arabia's war effort in neighboring Yemen, dealing a rebuke to President Donald Trump who has publicly thrown his support behind the crown prince.

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