Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the world’s longest serving incumbent foreign minister. “He has worked closely with King Khalid, King Fahd and King Abdullah.” Prince Saud Al Faisal speaks seven languages.
Saud bin Faisal, second son to King Faisal and Iffat Al-Thunayan was born January 2, 1940. Saud has two brothers Mohammed bin Faisal; Turki bin Faisal and three sisters, Luluwah bint Faisal, Sara bint Faisal and Haifa bint Faisal.
Prince Saud bin Faisal graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Princeton University in 1964 or 1965. Saud put to good use economics knowledge gained in Princeton University as economic consultant for the ministry of petroleum in Saudi Arabia.
In 1966 Saud moved to general organization for petroleum and mineral resources (Petromin) and became deputy governor for planning affairs in 1970 as well as serving as member of the High Coordination Committee in the organization. Prince Saud served in this position until his appointment as minister of foreign affairs in 1975.
King Khalid appointed Saud bin Faisal to the sensitive Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1975. The Prince immediately embarked on bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and other countries drawing from experience in making friends and influencing people gained in the petroleum industry.
In May 1985, Saud bin Faisal visited Iran and held talks with government officials on Iranians annual pilgrimage to Mecca. This move increased Iranian pilgrims to Mecca earning Saudi Arabia foreign exchange as a religious tourist destination.
Prince Saud bin Faisal at the helm of Foreign Affairs Ministry held talks negotiating truce with bordering Arab and Western Nations.
In March 2006, he invited Hamas leaders for talks in Riyadh and urged then President Bush to call for ceasefire in the Lebanon bombing. Saud has been in the forefront in forging alliances with the US government in counter terrorism campaign but also quickly pointed out external meddling in the affairs of independent states.
In February 14, 2008, the Prince met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
March 31, 2012, Saud led the delegation to the U.S. Gulf Cooperation Council Forum at the GCC secretariat in Riyadh.
“We have discussed …especially the heinous massacre against the Syrian people…the latest developments in Yemen, and reviewed the overall developments and political situation in the Gulf region, the Middle East and North Africa…” Saud said, speaking to reporters after the meeting.
Prince Saud is on record for reaching out to leaders across political divide beyond the geographical location and trade relations.
Saud bin Faisal Saudi Arabia’s efforts led initiative to redefine international image after the September 11 attacks quelled fears and simmering rivalry that the country harbored Al Qaeda terrorists.
In May 2014, the Saud invited Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Riyadh, ahead of talks on hostile relationship in the Middle East on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna.
Other Government Involvements
1998 onwards under the reign of King Fahd, Saud Al Faisal and Crown Prince Abdullah were in charge of managing the energy sector through a committee of technocrats and Princes.
1999 Prince Saud was appointed chairman of the Saudi Aramco’s Committee charged with government projects assessment responsibility.
2009 November 20, King Abdullah appointed Saud bin Faisal chairman of the influential supreme economic council of Saudi Arabia. Prince Saud as most of his predecessors is a member of the Military Service Council.
Prince Saud was a favorite candidate to the throne but was sidelined after the death of King Abdulla due health reasons.
Saud bin Faisal is a philanthropist, founder of King Faisal Foundation and chairs the board of directors of King Faisal School and Al Faisal University in Riyadh. He is an active member of the Society for Disabled Children and the Madina Society for Welfare and Social services.
Saud bin Faisal is married to his cousin Jawhara bint Abdullah bin Abdulrahman with whom he has three sons and three daughters. Prince Saud is “regarded in the diplomatic community as a warm man with a good sense of humor. The Prince is outgoing, interacts with reporters at ease and plays tennis. He speaks excellent English. That explains his mastery of seven languages.