U.S.-Saudi Relations Show Signs of Stress

(Washington Post) - Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jiddah, waited outside a restaurant for evening prayers to end so she could enter. Suddenly, a Saudi religious policeman barred her way, pointing out that she was not wearing an abaya, the black cloak required of Saudi women in public. She was a U.S. diplomat, she told him. He spit in his hand and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe. "This is what I think of your diplomatic status," he said. Last month, the Saudi government warned reformers in Jiddah to stop meeting with her and other U.S. diplomats. Friction between the two countries has grown more intense since the Bush administration began in late 2002 to push for political, social, and economic change in Saudi Arabia.

2004-04-21 00:00:00

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