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Saudi appoints first female ambassador

Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud is the daughter of the former envoy to the US

Saudi Arabia appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan as it’s ambassador to the United States on Sunday.

The new envoy, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, is the daughter of a former long-time ambassador to the United States.

She had a career in the private sector before joining the kingdom’s General Sports Authority where she championed women’s participation in sports and focused on increasing women’s empowerment.

Princess Reema becomes ambassador as Saudi Arabia is opening up and granting women more freedoms, but also amid heightened tensions with Washington, a key security and economic partner.

Saudi Princess: Women will get more rights soon

The appointments, published in state news agency SPA, follow Riyadh’s efforts to overcome a global outcry over last year’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, which damaged relations with key Western allies.

Princess Reema is replacing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s full younger brother,  Prince Khalid bin Salman, who had been serving in the post since April 2017. He has now been appointed as Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister.

Prince Khalid, a former fighter pilot, had been ambassador to Washington for less than two years. He was heavily criticised for denying that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, had been killed in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate before the authorities ultimately acknowledged the murder.

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