Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador



Like her father, Reema was educated in the United States and graduated from George Washington University in 1999, according to a biography posted on the website of the official Saudi news agency.

Prince Khalid's naming as deputy defense minister comes as Saudi Arabia remains mired in its yearslong war in Yemen, which also have strained American relations to the kingdom.

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to take tougher action against Saudi Arabia over the brutal killing amid claims that the crown prince was personally responsible.

She now serves as president of the mass participation federation and deputy of development and planning for the Saudi sports authority.

Princess Reema will take over the role from Prince Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been named Saudi deputy defence minister.

It looks like the decision to appoint Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan was made to try and ease tensions between the USA and Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, perhaps a decision made by the crown prince.

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 the image of Saudi Arabia in the US.

In December past year, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said Khashoggi was assassinated and dismembered inside the country's consulate in Istanbul.

Prince Khalid, a former fighter pilot, had been ambassador to Washington for less than two years. She has been the vice-president for planning and development for the General Sports Authority with the goal of having a healthier nation.

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She is known for her philanthropic work and advocacy of women's rights, and was previously a CEO of a retail company that worked with Harvey Nichols.

Number 10 said in a statement: "The PM is working hard to ensure we get a deal with the European Union that allows us to deliver on the result of the referendum".

May will be at an EU-Middle East summit on Sunday to hold talks with figures including the European council president, Donald Tusk, and Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, as she battles to secure a revised deal acceptable to the right of her party.

The princess has spoken of "monumental leaps" for women's rights, but has refrained from commenting publicly on the arrest of several female activists last May and subsequent claims that some of them faced sexual abuse and torture in detention.

"I actually do have a family that will allow me to be mobile and dynamic, but that is not the reality of a lot of women".

The Saudi government has denied he had anything to do with the murder of Mr Khashoggi, a royal insider-turned-critic who was a columnist with the Washington Post.

"The appointment of a new envoy signifies an attempt by Riyadh to try and reset relations with Washington and draw a line under the Khashoggi affair, however unlikely that may be in practice, at least with Congress", Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute in the USA, said.

For Greg Gause, a Gulf expert at Texas A&M University, Princess Reema's appointment is therefore "an excellent public relations move". We'll see how far she gets in mending a frayed relationship between the USA and Saudi Arabia.

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