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Opinion: Prince Saud Al-Faisal’s legacy will always be remembered | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal gestures during a news conference in Riyadh, in this April 12, 2015 file photo. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on April 29, 2015 replaced veteran foreign minister Saud al-Faisal with the kingdom’s Washington ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/Files

Lucky are those who are as loved and popular as Prince Saud Al-Faisal. The former Saudi foreign minister who passed away on Thursday enjoyed an international reputation and his achievements will remain testaments to his dedication and devotion to his country and people.

Prince Saud’s enormous popularity in Saudi Arabia and beyond would have been understood had his job involved direct contact with people. Prince Saud was so popular not only in Saudi Arabia but the entire Arab world. The Saudi people have never missed a minister so much as they have missed Prince Saud.

He was not an ordinary minister or diplomat who could be easily replaced. During his 40 years of service, Prince Saud assumed responsibility for the country. When Prince Saud decided to retire, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz said to him: “We and the entire world have grown to know you over 40 years of service moving between capitals, explaining your country’s policy, carrying its banner and defending its principles and interests. You have sacrificed your health in the service of your nation. You have been known for your dedication to your religion and homeland. You have been the best ambassador to your country and its leadership.”

“I will remain your faithful servant,” was the prince’s response.

Many ministers wish they could lead a life as remarkable as that of Prince Saud. While many officials got distracted by the limelight, Prince Saud continued to serve his country even in the latest stages of his illness. He devoted his life to ensure the security of his country and people. People did not need to call him “prince” or “minister.” His name will remain engraved in people’s hearts. He never hesitated to greet journalists, and talk to them at public events. In fact, there is a lesson to be learned from every juncture of his life.

After Prince Saud asked to be relieved of his post in April, I requested an extensive interview with him. But his office politely turned down my request as the prince had to complete his medical treatment. I was so insistent that I said I was ready to travel all the way to Los Angeles to conduct the interview. Later I was told that I should wait until after the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. However, fate has denied me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Prince Saud has left our world but his memory will remain alive.