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Not in Crisis Over Khashoggi Affair, Says Saudi's New Foreign Minister Day After Taking Charge

The prince, heir to the Saudi throne, has faced intense international scrutiny over the October 2 murder of journalist Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate -- which critics say has left the oil-rich Gulf nation diplomatically weakened.

AFP

Updated:December 28, 2018, 8:31 PM IST
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Not in Crisis Over Khashoggi Affair, Says Saudi's New Foreign Minister Day After Taking Charge
File photo of a demonstrator holding a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul (Reuters)
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Riyadh: 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 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.

The prince, heir to the Saudi throne, has faced intense international scrutiny over the October 2 murder of journalist Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate -- which critics say has left the oil-rich Gulf nation diplomatically weakened.

Assaf, a former finance minister who was detained last year in what Riyadh said was an anti-corruption sweep, replaced Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister in the sweeping government shake-up ordered by King Salman.

Jubeir, who sought to defend the tainted 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."
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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