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Saudi Arabia names its first female ambassador to US

Wednesday April 17, 2019
By Paulina Dedaj

H.R.H. Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, Vice-President for Development and Planning, Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, Saudi Arabia during the Session "Building Saudi Arabia's Future Economy " at the Annual Meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 25, 2018. (World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger)

Saudi Arabia named Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan its new ambassador to the United States on Tuesday, making her the first woman to hold the title.

She was sworn in by King Salman Al Saud in Al Yamamah palace -- a historic moment for a country known to oppress women’s rights.

“As the first-ever woman ambassador from the Kingdom, I recognize this as a historic moment in the Saudi-U.S. relationship, and a manifestation of the sweeping reforms taking place in the Kingdom,” the newly minted official said, according to a press release from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

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“As we continue to redefine and modernize Saudi Arabia, I am eager to share this progress with Saudi citizens in the United States, and the American public.”

The new ambassador previously served as vice president for development and planning at the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority; before joining the Saudi government, she was CEO of Alpha International, a leading retail corporation based in Saudi Arabia, for several years.

“Though the task is challenging, I am eager to continue to build and strengthen our strategic partnership with the United States,” she said of her new role.

Saudi Arabia claims it has been working hard to reform the country and is pushing to promote itself as tolerant. The government recently lifted a ban on women driving and allowed them into sports arenas.

However, recent reports of an American teacher who lived in Saudi Arabia with her now-former husband and is being held captive because of the country's draconian guardianship laws, undermine these advances.

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.

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