Obituary: Former Saudi Foreign Minister Saud AlFaisal

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Washington DC– Today the former Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, passed away in a Los Angeles hospital after losing his battle against Parkinson’s disease.

AlFaisal served as the Saudi Arabian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1975 until 2015, when he was replaced by Adel Al-Jubeir. His forty year spell as Foreign Minister made him the longest serving Foreign Minister, during which time he served five kings.

Educated in the United States, AlFaisal attended the prestigious Hun School of Princeton, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1965. After graduating he moved back home, putting his degree to use as an economic consultant for the ministry of petroleum. A year later he moved to Petromin, the general organization for petroleum and mineral resources, becoming deputy governor for planning affairs in 1970. Until his appointment to the Foreign Ministry by King Khalid, he served in this post.

AlFaisal oversaw many policies and arrangements, both in the Middle East and also the West. He has been the public face of the Saudi nation for many years, and is well respected and liked by many foreign diplomats, as well as within his own family circle.

Outside of his foreign policy work, AlFaisal was closely involved in many philanthropic activities. He is a founding member of the King Faisal Foundation as well a member of the Society for Disabled Children and the Madinah Society for Welfare and Social Services.
On the other hand, during his ministerial days AlFaisal was a xenophobe and a racist, particularly in relation to Shia and black citizens of Saudi Arabia. This was evidenced by the absence of a single black or Shia diplomat since he took office in 1975. AlFaisal also blocked women form diplomatic positions until 2007. Since then few women diplomats have been appointed to lower ranks.

Born in 1940, he is the second son of the late King Faisal and his wife Iffat Al-Thunayan. He had two full brothers and three full sisters. One of his brothers, Turki bin Faisal, was the former Director of the Intelligence Services. According to his personal profile AFaisal spoke several languages, and was remarked to have had an excellent command of English especially.

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