Monday, March 26, 2007

Saudis deny a Visa to Israeli covering U.N. visit

This is extraordinary--even by Saudi standards. The journalist (who has dual French-Israeli citizenship) applied for a visa to Saudi Arabia to cover the visit of the U.N. Secretary General. Everyone else gets a visa, but not her. Hmm. There is still a chance a visa might come through--fortunately, the denial of the visa has received some publicity, and the Saudis are sensitive to that. --Wendy in Washington

March 24, 2007
Saudi Arabia Bars Israeli Journalist Traveling With U.N. Chief
CAIRO, March 24 — Saudi Arabia has barred entry to a Washington-based Israeli journalist traveling with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on his current Middle East tour, the United Nations said today.

Mr. Ban is going to Riyadh on Tuesday for two days of the summit meeting of the League of Arab States.

Orly Azoulay, the Washington bureau chief of Yediot Aharonot, was unable to obtain a visa to Saudi Arabia despite assurances the Saudi mission in New York gave the United Nations last week, said Michéle Montas, Mr. Ban's spokeswoman.

[deletion re other Arab countries who provided a visa.]

Ms. Azoulay, 53, an Israeli-born dual citizen of France and Israel, sought the visa on her French passport. She said she had traveled during the past two years to Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan and had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2000 with correspondents covering then-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

When the Saudi consulate in New York returned the passports of the 11 news reporters and broadcasters to United Nations headquarters on Friday afternoon, only Ms. Azoulay's bore no Saudi visa. Ms. Montas said this occurred despite repeated appeals to the Saudis during the week from Vijay Nambiar, Mr. Ban's chief of staff.
Remainder of the article at:

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