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Saudi Purge: FM Al-Jubeir Reportedly Fired, Replaced By MBS’s Brother

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According to sources cited by several media outlets, including Al-Masdar News, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was reportedly fired on Friday and replaced by Khaled bin Salman, the crown prince's younger brother.

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Salman

A diplomatic source, who wished not to be identified, also confirmed the royal decision to Middle East Eye.

However, late on Friday, Al-Masdar News changed the source for the story, linking to an Arabic website that features a statement purportedly by the official Saudi news agency SPA. MEE was unable to find the referenced statement on official SPA platforms.

The Saudi government has yet to comment on the reports and MEE was unable to reach a Saudi official late Friday.

Prince Khaled is currently Riyadh's ambassador to the United States. He was trained at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi and has been an F-15 pilot in the Saudi air force.

Saudi FM Adel al-Jubeir

Al-Jubeir succeeded foreign policy veteran Prince Saud Al Faisal in 2015 to become the second foreign minister in the history of the kingdom who is not a member of the royal family.

He was serving as ambassador to the US before his appointment.

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy has come under rare criticism from Washington in recent days.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi restraint in Yemen, Qatar and Lebanon.

"With respect to Saudi Arabia's engagement with Qatar, how they're handling the Yemen war that they're engaged in, the Lebanon situation, we would encourage them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions to, I think, fully consider the consequences," Tillerson said on Friday.

Saudi Arabia has been involved in a bombardment campaign against in Yemen since March 2015. The Saudi-led aggression had martyred more than 10,000 people, sparked a cholera outbreak and caused a humanitarian crisis that has driven the country to the verge of famine.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump called on the Saudis to lift their blockade on Yemen.

"I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it," Trump said in a statement.

"This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately."

Saudi Arabia also escalated its disagreements with Qatar earlier this year, leading a group of its allies to boycott Doha diplomatically and financially.

The kingdom has also been accused of compromising Lebanon's relative stability by forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign when he was in Riyadh last month. Western diplomats have expressed concerns that Hariri was held against his will in Saudi Arabia. The prime minister rescinded his resignation after returning to Lebanon.

Source: MEE, Edited by website team