Saud Al-Faisal, Former Saudi Foreign Minister, Dies

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -

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 Friday. He was 75.

The tall, stately Prince Saud was a fixture of Mideast diplomacy, representing the oil-rich Gulf powerhouse as it wielded its influence in crisis after crisis shaking the region — from Lebanon’s civil war in the 1970s and 1980s, through multiple rounds of Arab-Israeli peace efforts, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War, al-Qaida’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to the current day’s tensions between the Arab Gulf bloc and Iran, Arab Spring uprisings, Syria’s civil war and the spread of Islamic State group extremists.

The country’s government-owned media announced Saud’s death after midnight Friday. The official announcement 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.

Saud was the son of Saudi Arabia’s third king, Faisal, who ruled from 1964 until he was assassinated in 1975.