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Dutch queen criticized over meeting with Saudi prince

People gather in front of Saudi Consulate in New York to protest against Saudi Arabia's decision to execute three leading Saudi Arabian scholars including Salman al-Awdah after Ramadan, in New York, United States on 1 June 2019. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]
People gather in front of Saudi Consulate in New York to protest against Saudi Arabia's decision to execute three leading Saudi Arabian scholars including Salman al-Awdah after Ramadan, in New York, United States on 1 June 2019. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]

A United Nations official on Saturday joined Dutch lawmakers in criticizing Queen Maxima over a meeting she held with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka this week, Reuters reports.

UN rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard told newspaper Algemeen Dagblad it was “more than disappointing” that the Dutch queen had apparently not raised the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the Saudi prince.

“It’s one thing (for her) to meet this man, it’s something else to remain silent,” Callamard was quoting as saying.

Callamard authored a UN report that found high-level Saudi officials including Crown Prince Salman should be investigated for the October 2018 killing of Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Dutch Royal House could not immediately be reached for comment, but local media cited a statement from the royals as confirming that the meeting had taken place. It added that it had been obligatory for the queen to meet the crown prince because Saudi Arabia will host the next G-20.

READ: Erdogan urges world to keep Khashoggi case on agenda 

Maxima, an Argentine who married the Dutch crown prince in 2002, had addressed the G-20 in Japan about women’s empowerment.

The Saudi Center for International Communication published a photo of the meeting on Twitter, saying “many topics were on the table” during their conversation.

Callamard’s comments followed rare criticism of the royals by Dutch lawmakers, several of whom said they would table the matter for discussion in parliament on Monday.

“Whoever approved this conversation between Maxima and the Saudi crown prince understands nothing of diplomacy and even less about what’s good public relations,” Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the centrist D-66 Party, a member of the governing coalition, said in a statement on Twitter.

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNetherlandsNewsSaudi ArabiaUN
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