Former Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has died, Saudi sources said, two months after he was replaced following 40 years in the job.
Prince Saud, who was appointed in 1975, was the world’s longest serving foreign minister when he was replaced on April 29 by Adel al-Jubeir, the then ambassador to Washington.
Prince Saud served under four Saudi kings, advancing the Kingdom’s foreign policy, especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States.
He was also part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to lessen Iran’s influence in the region, including the continuing conflict in Syria, where Saudi Arabia has been supporting several rebel groups.
As the foreign minister of an important political and economic US ally in the region, Saud was reported to have been well liked and respected in diplomatic circles.
He was often described as a charismatic leader, willing to talk to reporters, and with a sense of humour.
With age, Saud faced many health problems. In the last few years, despite suffering from chronic back pain and having various surgeries, he maintained his challenging role.
As foreign minister, he has been quoted in expressing regret that a Palestinian state never took shape during his career.
Saud’s position, however, was always as subordinate to the King, who has the final say.