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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Saudi Arabia: Saud al-Faisal, Saudi foreign minister for 40 years, dies

Friday, 10 July 2015

Saudi Arabia: Saud al-Faisal, Saudi foreign minister for 40 years, dies

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the urbane diplomat who used quiet diplomacy to maintain Saudi Arabia’s regional influence and alliance with the United States during his four decades as foreign minister, died on Thursday, according to Saudi officials and state news media. He was 75.
Before his retirement in April, Prince Saud was the world’s longest-serving foreign minister and helped shape the kingdom’s responses to monumental changes in the Middle East.
During his tenure, he dealt with a civil war in Lebanon, whose end he helped mediate; the Palestinian uprisings against Israel in 1987 and 2000; the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon; the American invasion of Iraq in 2003; and the Arab uprisings of 2011.
He used a combination of oil wealth, religious influence and close relationships with world leaders as leverage for diplomacy that was most often done far from the public eye.

“It was traditional, state diplomacy that was conservative, quiet and logical,” said Abdullah al-Shammari, a Saudi political analyst in Riyadh, the capital, and a former diplomat. “He did not take hasty or emotional positions.”
The length of Prince Saud’s tenure and his role inside the royal family made him an essential player in the reigns of four Saudi kings and an interlocutor for seven American presidents.
As fluent in English as he was in Arabic and as comfortable in a suit and tie as in a traditional Saudi robe, he was for much of his career a familiar face in Washington and other capitals.
Ford M. Fraker, the United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2007 to 2009, said he often told his bosses in Washington that Prince Saud was among three Saudi officials who could quickly get things done. The others were King Abdullah and Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, who succeeded Prince Saud as foreign minister.
“Saud was in the middle of it all,” Mr. Fraker said. “There was not a single foreign policy decision that he was not involved in.”
While many Saudis praised Prince Saud as an international representative of the kingdom and its policies, he often called his failure to help the Palestinians achieve an independent state his greatest regret.

Source: NYtimes/Reuters

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