Saudi Arabia 'not in crisis' over Khashoggi affair: new FM
LONDON - Saudi Arabia's new foreign minister rejected any notions that the kingdom was "in crisis" over the Khashoggi case or that his predecessor was demoted.
"The issue of Jamal Khashoggi... really saddened us, all of us," Ibrahim al-Assaf told Agence France-Presse a day after he was appointed foreign minister in a government reshuffle.
"But all in all, we are not going through a crisis, we are going through a transformation," he added, referring to social and economic reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The prince, heir to the Saudi throne, faced intense international scrutiny over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate on October 2. Riyadh has vehemently denied that the crown prince was involved in the killing.
Assaf, a former finance minister who was detained last year in Riyadh's anti-corruption sweep but was cleared of all charges, has replaced Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister in the sweeping government shake-up ordered Thursday by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Jubeir was appointed minister of state for foreign affairs, which was described by some as a demotion.
"This is far from the truth," Assaf said.
"Adel represented Saudi Arabia and will continue to represent Saudi Arabia... around the world. We complement each other."