In a cable to Prince Saud Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz replied in answer to the former foreign minister’s request to be relieved of his duties, that it “was one of the most difficult and hard matters,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
In the cable, the king said he only answered Prince Saud’s request after “repeated insistence,” adding that the former foreign minister would be “close to him and to the work Prince Saud Al-Faisal loved and worked hard for.”
King Salman acknowledged that Prince Saud’s request included feelings of “sincere loyalty to his religion, king and homeland.”
The Saudi monarch had relieved Prince Saud of his duties, upon his request, earlier this week in a major government reshuffle that saw the appointment of Adel Al Jubair as new foreign minister.
King Salman hailed Prince Saud’s career, which spanned 40 years.
Prince Saud Al Faisal was appointed to his post in 1975 and is reportedly the world’s longest-serving foreign minister.
In his tenure, he witnessed the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and 2006, the Palestinian intifadas that erupted in 1987 and 2000, Iraq invading Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990, and the U.S.-led coalition’s occupation of Iraq in 2003.