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Dutch Queen under fire for 'disappointing meeting' with controversial Saudi crown prince

Queen Maxima's MbS meeting sparked outrage [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 June, 2019

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Queen Maxima met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit, sparking outrage at home and abroad.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands sparked outrage, including within the United Nations, for meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The royal met with MbS at the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka earlier this week despite global outrage after recent evidence pinned the crown prince to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  

UN rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard told newspaper Algemeen Dagbladthat Maxima’s meeting was “more than disappointing” that and that she had apparently not raised the murder of journalist Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. 

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

Callamard penned a UN report that accused top-level Saudi officials including MbS for the killing of Khashoggi, saying they should be investigated for the grisly murder.

The Dutch Royal House could not immediately be reached for comment, but local media cited a statement from the monarchs which confirmed the meeting took place. It added that it had been obligatory for Queen Maxima to meet he Saudi royal because Saudi Arabia will host the next G20 summit.

Maxima, an Argentine who married the Dutch crown prince in 2002, had addressed the G20 in Japan, pressing on the issue of women’s empowerment.

The Saudi Centre for International Communication released a photo of the meeting on Twitter, saying “many topics were on the table” during the pair's discussion. 

Callamard’s comments followed rare criticism of the monarchs by Dutch parliamentary members, several of whom pledged to take the matter into 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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