Saudi diplomat in Colombo found dead in pool

Updated 03 December 2013

Saudi diplomat in Colombo found dead in pool

A Saudi diplomat was found dead inside a swimming pool at an apartment complex in Colombo on Sunday.
Abdulaziz Abdul Rahman Al-Jammaz, Saudi ambassador to Sri Lanka, told Arab News over the phone that the deceased was Abdullah Al-Heej, a 32-year-old diplomat who had been serving at the Saudi mission in Colombo over the past two-and-a-half years.
Al-Heej was working as an accountant at the Colombo mission, the envoy said. 
The ambassador said that he had called for a full-scale investigation to ascertain the cause of death.
Al-Jammaz said that the body would be flown to the Kingdom immediately upon the completion of the inquiry.
Al-Jammaz said that the entire mission in Colombo was in a state of shock over the death of Al-Heej, who was well liked among his peers. The mission will coordinate with the Foreign Ministry in Colombo to sort out matters related to his death. 
The police said the diplomat was believed to have suffered a heart attack and fell into the pool of the apartment complex at Adamaly Place in Colombo. 
Arab News learned that Bambalapitiya police ruled out foul play and insisted that the diplomat died of natural causes. The police said that an investigation is underway. 
An official from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry confirmed the diplomat's death. “We will be assisting the Saudi mission in Colombo in repatriating the body," he said.
Arab News learned that the diplomat's family in Jeddah wants to bring the body home.


Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

Updated 25 min 56 sec ago

Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

  • The visit comes days after Pentagon said it was bolstering its forces in the Kingdom amid tensions with Iran
  • In October, the Pentagon said it was deploying new US troops to Saudi Arabia following attacks on Saudi oil plants

RIYADH: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, with tensions simmering between the United States and Iran, and Russia seeking to increase its regional influence.
Al-Ekhbariyah television gave no details on the previously unannounced visit, which comes after Esper visited Afghanistan.
Esper is likely to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his first trip to the key Middle East ally since he took office this summer, a visit intended partly to reassure Riyadh over bilateral ties.

US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
The United States has deployed military forces to Saudi Arabia to bolster the Kingdom’s defenses after an attack on oil sites last month.
The Sept. 14 attack knocked out two major processing facilities of state oil giant Aramco in Khurais and Abqaiq, roughly halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
Washington condemned the attacks as a “act of war” but neither the Saudis nor the United States have overtly retaliated.

Esper said that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defense batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, bringing to about 3,000 the total number of troops deployed there since last month.
Despite the additional troops, there are questions about the US commitment to allies in the region after Trump announced a sudden withdrawal from northeastern Syria, opening the door for Russia to increase its influence in the Middle East.
A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States still wanted to be seen as the partner of choice in the region and Russia was not as dependable, whether it be the level of training or the military equipment it can provide.
President Vladimir Putin signalled Moscow’s growing Middle East clout last week on his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade, buoyed by Russian military gains in Syria, strong ties with Riyadh’s regional rivals and energy cooperation.
(With Reuters and AFP)