Saudi Arabia replaced its ambassador in Washington, according to a royal decree issued on Saturday, while relations between the two allies were damaged after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October in his country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Princess Rima bent Bandar has been appointed as ambassador to Washington. She replaces Prince Khaled bin Salman, the younger brother of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appointed Deputy Minister of Defence.
The princess was the first woman to hold this position.
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a commando from Riyadh has deeply tarnished the image of Saudi leaders and embarrassed the American administration, anxious to preserve its strategic alliance with the Saudi kingdom.
The US Senate has ruled that Mohammed bin Salman was “responsible” for the murder of Khashoggi, who was collaborating with the Washington Post and others.
But Riyadh has always categorically denied the involvement of the Crown Prince, implicating lower-ranking officials, presented as “uncontrolled” elements and currently before the Saudi courts.
Another resolution adopted by U.S. senators in December called on President Donald Trump to “withdraw U.S. armed forces from hostilities in or affecting Yemen, except for U.S. forces engaged in operations targeting Al Qaeda or associated forces”.