Saudi king orders major government reshuffle

Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries meet in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Salman issued a royal order on Thursday demanding a cabinet reshuffle, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

He also ordered a shakeup of the kingdom's two supreme councils that oversee matters related to the economy and security, respectively.

Assaf, a former long-serving finance minister and a board member of national oil giant Saudi Aramco, was among several people detained as part of a "corruption crackdown" in November, 2017.

"I think he is out now - perhaps at the right time for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman".

Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister who was detained a year ago in an anti-corruption sweep, will replace Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister, a royal decree said. The crown prince oversees both entities.

Jubeir will be demoted to minister of state for foreign affairs, it added.

Assaf's biography on Aramco's website says he holds a PhD in economics from Colorado State University, a master's degree in economics from the University of Denver and a bachelor's degree from King Saud University. Hamad al-Sheikh was made education minister.

"Because the Saudi consul general in Istanbul was very much involved in the killing of Khashoggi and that would fall under al-Jubeir".

In other changes, Turki al-Shabanah was appointed as the new information minister, replacing Awwad al-Awwad - who was named as an advisor to the royal court.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Riyadh for hastily arranged talks with top Saudi leaders, as sources told CNN that the Kingdom is preparing to acknowledge that missing journalist Kamal Khashoggi died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

In other moves, the Saudi king appointed Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz to replace Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as chief of the National Guard, and ordered a reshuffle of Saudi Arabia's Political and Security Council.

Badr Bin Sultan has been appointed Deputy Emir of Makkah and Eman Al-Mutairi as assistant minister of commerce.

Turki al-Sheikh, a close aide to the crown prince, was removed as the head of the kingdom's sports commission and appointed entertainment authority chief, while Ahmed al-Khatib was named tourism authority chief.

Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the ruling House of Saud.

Saudi Arabia denies the crown prince knew of the plot.

Jubeir, one of Riyadh's most frequent public spokesmen, was replaced as the kingdom struggles to block U.S. Senate resolutions calling for an end to U.S. military support for the war in Yemen and blaming Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, for the murder of Khashoggi.

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