Saudi replaces foreign minister less than a year after appointment

Saudi Arabia”s King Salman appointed a new foreign minister on Wednesday, according to a royal decree issued less than a year after his predecessor took office.
Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, who has been serving as ambassador to Germany, will replace Ibrahim al-Assaf, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited the decree as saying.
Assaf will be demoted to minister of state, the SPA reported, having replaced Adel al-Jubeir in December 2018, two months after the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi”s Istanbul consulate.
Assaf had been detained in 2017 in an anti-corruption sweep.
Saud will take office as the kingdom continues to deal with the aftermath of Khashoggi”s killing, widely seen as the kingdom”s worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11 attacks, in which most of the hijackers were identified as Saudi nationals.
The kingdom has also been navigating a spike in tensions with its regional arch-rival Iran, with attacks on Saudi oil facilities last month that halved the kingdom”s crude output and sent prices soaring.
Yemen”s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed responsibility, but US officials blamed Tehran, charging that the rebels did not have the range or sophistication to target the facilities.
Tehran has denied involvement and warned of “total war” in the event of any attack on its territory.
Last week, an Iranian tanker was hit in suspected missile strikes off the coast of Saudi Arabia, sparking new fears of war.

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