New foreign minister named as part of Saudi government reshuffle

Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister who serves on the board of Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Investment Fund, will take over as foreign minister.
Thursday 27/12/2018
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, speaks to his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, speaks to his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

RIYADH - Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud oversaw a comprehensive government overhaul on Thursday, replacing key ministers and restructuring the kingdom’s top two supreme councils. 

Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister who serves on the board of Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Investment Fund, was named minister of foreign affairs.

According to Al-Assaf’s biography on Aramco’s website, he holds a Ph.D. in economics from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree from King Saud University.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was appointed minister of state for foreign affairs. 

Other royal decrees replaced ministers of media and education, the head of the national guard and the kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority. 

Turki Shabbaneh, a Saudi TV presenter, was named minister of media. Hamad al-Sheikh was appointed minister of education.

Meanwhile, Prince Abdullah bin Bandar— the son of Prince Bandar Al Saud who once served as Saudi ambassador to Washington— was named head of the National Guard. The force is tasked primarily with the protection of the Al Saud ruling family. Prince Abdullah had been deputy governor of Mecca.

One significant change impacts a close aide of the crown prince, Turki al-Sheikh, who was named as head of the kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority, a body created in recent years to help organise and promote concerts and other events that had long been banned in the conservative country.

Al-Sheikh, who is known to be close to the crown prince, was replaced as head of the Sports Authority by Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal.

(With AFP)