Friday, December 8, 2017

Saudi Foreign Minister al-Jubeir fired and replaced by Khaled bin Salman: Sources

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Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir was reportedly fired on Friday and replaced by Khaled bin Salman, the crown prince’s younger brother, according to sources cited by several media outlets, including Al-Masdar News.
A diplomatic source, who wished not to be identified, also confirmed the royal decision to Middle East Eye.
However, late on Friday, Al-Masdar News changed the source for the story, linking to an Arabic website that features a statement purportedly by the official Saudi news agency SPA. MEE was unable to find the referenced statement on official SPA platforms.
The Saudi government has yet to comment on the reports and MEE was unable to reach a Saudi official late Friday.
Prince Khaled is currently Riyadh’s ambassador to the United States. A graduate of Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, he had served as an F-15 pilot in the Saudi air force.
Al-Jubeir succeeded foreign policy veteran Prince Saud Al Faisal in 2015 to become the second foreign minister in the history of the kingdom who is not a member of the royal family.
He was serving as ambassador to the US before his appointment.
Saudi Arabia's foreign policy has come under rare criticism from Washington in recent days.
Prince Khaled, Mohammed bin Salman's younger brother, is currently Riyadh’s ambassador to the United States (Reuters)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi restraint in Yemen, Qatar and Lebanon.
"With respect to Saudi Arabia's engagement with Qatar, how they're handling the Yemen war that they're engaged in, the Lebanon situation, we would encourage them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions to, I think, fully consider the consequences," Tillerson said on Friday.
Saudi Arabia has been involved in a bombardment campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015. The war has killed more than 10,000 people, sparked a cholera outbreak and caused a humanitarian crisis that put the country on the verge of famine.
On Wednesday, US President Trump called on the Saudis to lift their blockade on Yemen.
"I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it," Trump said in a statement.
"This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately."
Saudi Arabia has also escalated its disagreements with Qatar earlier this year, leading a group of its allies to boycott Doha diplomatically and financially.
The Kingdom has also been accused of compromising Lebanon’s relative stability by forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign from Riyadh last month. Western diplomats have also expressed concerns that Hariri was held against his will in Saudi Arabia. The prime minister rescinded his resignation after returning to Lebanon. 

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