Saudi king orders Cabinet shakeup after Khashoggi's killing

Saudi King Orders Cabinet Shakeup After Khashoggi’s Killing

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.

Turki al-Sheikh, a close aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was removed as the head of the kingdom's sports commission and named entertainment authority chief.

The reshuffle came with the Saudi government trying to deal with intense global pressure over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Al Assaf had been serving as minister of state, and has held a seat on the boards of oil-giant Saudi Aramaco and the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

The royal decree called for the restructuring of the Political and Security Affairs Council - under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - and the restructuring of the Council for Economic Affairs and Development.

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

Al-Jubeir was appointed to the rank of minister of state for foreign affairs.

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President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Middle East said Prince Mohammed has every right to inherit the throne when the ailing 82-year-old King Salman dies. Prince Sultan had been head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

He was briefly detained in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton, alongside dozens of other prominent Saudi royals and businessmen. "There is an effort to balance the fast pace of reform with bolstering government procedures and institutions", he said.

Last week the kingdom announced the creation of three government bodies aimed at improving its intelligence operations.

Senior U.S. lawmakers have blamed the crown prince the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, a conclusion they said was backed by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has shone a spotlight on the ultra-conservative Islamic nation.

In an interview with CBS News in November, weeks after Khashoggi was murdered, al-Jubeir said the crown prince was "not involved" in his death and that "nobody" in Saudi Arabia is above the law.

He is set to maintain his political and security posts after Thursday's reshuffle, including that of defence minster. While President Donald Trump has sought to emphasize the importance of the USA alliance with Saudi Arabia, prominent senators have come out against the crown prince, with one, Republican Lindsey Graham, describing him as "crazy" and "dangerous".

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