Saudi 'not in crisis' over Khashoggi affair: New FM

AFP , Friday 28 Dec 2018

Ibrahim Al-Assaf
Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, the new Saudi Foreign Minister (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's new foreign minister voiced defiance Friday in the face of international outrage over critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder, rejecting the kingdom was in crisis and his predecessor was demoted.

"The issue of Jamal Khashoggi... really saddened us, all of us," Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Assaf told AFP, a day after he was appointed foreign minister in a government reshuffle.

"But all in all, we are not going through a crisis, we are going through a transformation," he added, referring to social and economic reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Assaf, a former finance minister, replaced Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister in the sweeping government shake-up ordered by King Salman.

Jubeir, who sought to defend the government internationally after Khashoggi's murder, was appointed minister of state for foreign affairs, which was widely seen as a demotion.

"This is far from the truth," Assaf said.

"Adel represented Saudi Arabia and will continue to represent Saudi Arabia... around the world. We complement each other."

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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