Saudi king appoints former Ritz-Carlton detainee as foreign minister

Saudi King Orders Cabinet Shakeup After Khashoggi’s Killing

Saudi King Orders Cabinet Shakeup After Khashoggi’s Killing

Saudi Arabia's King Salman ordered Thursday a large-scale government reshuffle replacing Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir with longtime Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf.

He also ordered a shakeup of the kingdom's two supreme councils that oversee matters related to the economy and security.

But the appointment as foreign minister of Assaf, who holds a seat on the boards of state oil giant Aramco and the vast Public Investment Fund, indicates an emphasis on "economic diplomacy" as the kingdom seeks to reassure foreign investors rattled by the Khashoggi crisis, analysts say.

The revamp left untouched the authority of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler facing intense global scrutiny over the October 2 murder of journalist Khashoggi, which tipped the kingdom into one of its worst crises.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh on October 23, 2018.

The royal decree appoints former Finance Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and assigns former foreign affairs minister Adel Al-Jubeir, to the post of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

The crown prince retained his position as both deputy prime minister and defense minister.

Abdullah Bin Bandar has been appointed as Minister of National Guard, Turki Shabbaneh as Minister of Media, while Hamad Al-Sheikh has been given education portfolio.

In other changes, Turki al-Shabanah was appointed as the new information minister, replacing Awwad al-Awwad - who was named as an advisor to the royal court.

Following the royal decrees issued to reshuffle the Saudi council of ministers, pictures spread on social media showing a number of council members at the top of mount Lawz. The force is tasked primarily with the protection of the Al Saud ruling family.

Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal has replaced Turki Al Sheikh as president of the Sports Authority, while Turki Al Sheikh has been appointed as Chairman of the Entertainment Authority.

Musaed al-Aiban was appointed national security adviser.

Al-Sheikh's appointment as head of entertainment means he no longer oversees a cybersecurity and programming body that was led by Saud al-Qahtani, a close aid to the crown prince who was sacked from his post and sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for helping to mastermind the plot in Istanbul that led to Khashoggi's killing.

The critic's killing has tainted the image of 33-year-old Prince Mohammed - the de facto ruler and heir apparent - even though the kingdom strongly denies he was involved.

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