The American flag that flew over the original US Consulate in Dhahran was lowered and folded and handed to US Consul General in Dhahran, David Edginton, and the Charge d’Affaires, Martina Strong, who came from Riyadh for the occasion. (Supplied)
- David Edginton described the move as a new chapter in the relations between the US and Saudi Arabia
- The original consulate opened on Sept. 2, 1944 on the Aramco compound
DHAHRAN: After nearly eight decades, the US Consulate in Dhahran is moving from its well-known spot near the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to another state-of-the-art compound a short drive away.
The new location is on the corner of Salah Addin Al-Ayoubi Road and Abu l’baba Al-Aslami Street, just off King Saud bin Abdulaziz Road.
On Sept. 14, the American flag that flew over the original US Consulate in Dhahran was slowly lowered by white-gloved marines and immaculately folded into a triangle. That was then handed to the US consul general in Dhahran, David Edginton, and the charge d’affaires, Martina Strong, who came from Riyadh for the occasion.
The original US Consulate in Dhahran’s American flag was lowered to be folded. (Supplied)
The flag ceremony was held in front of Edginton’s official residence, the home which the consul general, know locally as Abu Yaqoob, has lived in since he took on the role in 2021. Before then, the home has been continuously occupied as the residence for US consul generals in Dhahran for 78 years and is a gathering spot for important discussions and occasions. It is the oldest diplomatic facility of any country in the Gulf region.
During the flag ceremony, Edginton was emotional and hopeful as it was lowered for the final time at the historic landmark. He mentioned that the consulate was not just a building — it was not about the bricks and mortar that hold the structure together or the address itself, but what the location symbolized. Anyone who has ever had to renew a US passport or apply for a visa or seek support or help from the US Consulate in the last few decades has walked those same grounds and opened those same doors.
The American flag being lowered for the very last time at the US Consulate in Dhahran before being moved to another location. (Supplied)
Edginton described the move as a new chapter in the relations between the US and Saudi Arabia.
“For almost 80 years, the US Consulate in Dhahran has served as a bridge between our two countries, forging a relationship of mutual respect that has fostered rich commercial, diplomatic, educational, and cultural ties between the US and Saudi Arabia.
“While we honor the past of the historic facility we leave behind, and those who passed through its doors, the new consulate will dramatically expand our capabilities to engage our Saudi partners on emerging issues such as clean energy and climate change, and will support the dynamic social and cultural transformation occurring under Vision 2030. The consulate is a symbol of our enduring commitment to the Kingdom and the strength of the bilateral relationship,” Edginton said.
The American flag raised at the new US Consulate location in Dhahran. (Supplied)
The original consulate opened on Sept. 2, 1944 on the Aramco compound as the first permanent US diplomatic facility on the Arabian Peninsula. Since then, the consulate has been a steady presence in the Eastern Province, forging ties within the local community and providing consular services to Saudis and Americans.
A short drive away, the new $380 million facility saw the American flag raised in another symbolic gesture. Flapping in the hot sun, it was witnessed by the marines, who were responsible for the flag, and by deployed US Army and US Navy members as well as the staff of the consulate.
The new location will open on Sept. 26, by appointment. The west side of the building will be dedicated to all consular services, including visas and passports.
Visit their official website for more information on the new location.
— Reprinted with permission of Arab News.