Saudi embassy in Washington DC now on 'Jamal Khashoggi Way'

Activists say street will serve as 'a constant reminder' as President Joe Biden plans trip to kingdom

Activists reveal the new street sign for Jamal Khashoggi Way during an event celebrating the renaming of the street outside Saudi Arabia's embassy in Washington. AFP
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The street in front of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Washington was renamed on Wednesday for Jamal Khashoggi as activists vowed never to forget the murdered journalist before President Joe Biden's planned visit to the kingdom.

The capital's local government changed signs on one block in front of the embassy to read “Jamal Khashoggi Way” in honour of the Saudi dissident who was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

The street will serve as “a constant reminder, a memorial to Jamal Khashoggi's memory that cannot be covered up”, said Phil Mendelson, president of the District of Columbia Council that voted unanimously to rename the stretch of New Hampshire Avenue, which also lies near the Watergate building.

The previously scheduled dedication came a day after the White House announced that Mr Biden will travel next month to Saudi Arabia and meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mr Biden had previously pledged to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over human rights concerns. But several issues, including soaring petrol prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have seen a recalibration of the relationship.

Jamal Khashoggi Way is the latest street renamed in Washington as a political signal.

Russia's embassy lies on Boris Nemtsov Plaza, named after the reformist politician killed near the Kremlin in 2015.

An effort to name the plaza outside of China's embassy for Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Prize-winning writer and democracy activist who died in prison, floundered after intense opposition from Beijing.

Other governments have sometimes acted similarly with the US, whose consulate in Kolkata is on a street named after Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh.

- AFP contributed to this report.

Updated: June 16, 2022, 6:36 AM