(AA) – After serving 40 years at the helm of Saudi diplomacy, Saud al-Faisal, the world’s longest-serving foreign minister, has been relieved upon his request to King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
In a royal decree in the early hours of Wednesday, King Salman accepted Prince Saud’s request to be relieved of his duties “due to his health conditions,” and named Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in his stead, state SPA news agency reported.
However, the veteran diplomat was appointed as a state minister, an adviser and a special envoy of the king, as well as a supervisor on foreign affairs.
Prince Saud has been battling Parkinson’s disease and chronic back pain, and he recently returned home after weeks of recovery from a back surgery in the United States, which the Saudi authorities had described as “successful.”
Rumors had emerged from time to time about his resignation from office due to his health conditions, but they were always denied by the Saudi government swiftly.
Appointed as the Sunni powerhouse’s top diplomat in 1975, Prince Saud has eventually become the longest-serving foreign minister in the world.
Born in 1940, Prince Faisal holds a BA degree in economics from Princeton University.
He took up several posts in the oil sector, including the undersecretary of the Petroleum Ministry from 1971 to 1975, before having been handpicked by then King Khalid bin Abdelaziz to be the foreign minister.
His performance and friendly diplomacy won the admiration of many of his counterparts and world leaders as the region went through several crises. He is also said to speak seven languages – Arabic, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Hebrew.
His mandate as the kingdom’s foreign minister drew to a close after serving under four monarchs – King Khalid, King Fahd, King Abdullah and King Salman.