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Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Foreign Minister for 40 Years, Dies at 75

  • VOA News

FILE - Then-Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal addresses a news conference following a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, Aug. 12, 2014.

FILE - Then-Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal addresses a news conference following a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, Aug. 12, 2014.

Former Saudi Arabian foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, one of the most prominent members of the Saudi royal family, has died.

Saudi officials gave no cause of death. He was 75 years old.

Prince Saud led the country's foreign affairs for 40 years before retiring in April, apparently for health reasons. He was the world's longest serving foreign minister when he stepped down.

Prince Saud retained an influential position in Saudi foreign policy circles even after his replacement, serving as an official adviser to King Salman, who took power in January, and was sometimes present when foreign leaders met the monarch.

President Barack Obama Thursday expressed his deep condolences to Prince Saud's family. Obama called him a committed and accomplished diplomat and said generations of American leaders benefited from his skill, charisma and poise.

"As the world's longest-serving foreign minister, Prince Saud witnessed some of the most challenging periods in the region. At each turn, he advanced the goals of peace, whether negotiating the end to Lebanon's civil war or helping to launch the Arab Peace Initiative," Obama said in a statement.

Prince Saud helped Saudi Arabia through numerous crises in the Middle East, including three Israeli invasions of Lebanon, two U.S-led wars against Iraq, Palestinian uprisings and the current violence in Yemen, in which the Saudis are leading an Arab coalition against Houthi rebels.

Under Prince Saud's diplomatic skills, Saudi Arabia proposed peace between Arab states and Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from lands seized in the 1967 war.

The prince said at the time that Israel will never know security "at the muzzle of a gun."

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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