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Saudi Arabia’s Longest Serving Foreign Minister has Died

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Saud al-Faisal, who was the world’s longest-serving foreign minister with 40 years in the post until his retirement this year, has died, the ministry spokesman said Thursday. He was 75.

The country’s government-owned media announced Saud’s death after midnight Friday. The official announcement, carried by state television, did not state the cause of death. The prince had undergone multiple surgeries in recent years for his back, which left him walking with a cane, and for other ailments.

Saud was the son of Saudi Arabia’s third king, Faisal, who ruled from 1964 until he was assassinated in 1975. Prince Saud, who had a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University and had been deputy petroleum minister, was soon after appointed to the foreign minister post, which his father had held during his reign. The young prince, fluent in English and French, brought an air of sophistication and charisma, whether in crisp suits or in the traditional Saudi white robe and gold-trimmed black cloak with a red-checkered head piece. Soft spoken, he often showed a sense of humor not often seen among the publicly stolid royal family.