Saudi Arabia demotes foreign minister in wake of Khashoggi case

Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries meet in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries meet in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's king put a veteran former finance minister in charge of foreign affairs on Thursday, aiming to improve the kingdom's image after the crisis caused by the killing of a journalist and greater scrutiny of the Yemen war.

Adel al Jubeir, the soft-spoken foreign minister since 2015 and face of the Saudi response to the crime in Istanbul, was replaced by Ibrahim al Assaf, who was formerly a finance minister.

The reshuffle came with the Saudi government trying to deal with intense worldwide pressure over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

"I think he is out now - perhaps at the right time for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman".

Al Jubeir was appointed to the post of minister of state for foreign affairs. He holds a seat on the boards of state-owned oil firm Saudi Aramco and the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. Prince Mohammed oversees both entities.

Al-Assaf had been serving as a minister of state prior to being named foreign minister.

The crown prince retained his position as both deputy prime minister and defense minister.

The king issued a number of other royal decrees, which were read on state TV, that replaced the ministers of media and education.

The order also calls for Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz to replace Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as chief of the National Guard, and named General Kalid bin Qirar Al Harbi as general security chief.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal was appointed as chairman of the General Sports Authority in place of Turki Al Asheikh, who was appointed as the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority. The force is tasked primarily with the protection of the Al Saud ruling family.

In 1986, he served as Acting Executive Director of Saudi Arabia at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and then Deputy Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) in 1995. Rotana is owned by billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was also detained at the Ritz past year and later released.

Turki al-Sheikh has been moved to a new portfolio heading up the entertainment authority.

Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, was killed and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

A Saudi official said the reshuffle came at the end of the cabinet's four-year term, as required by law. Prince Sultan had been head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

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