Jamal Khashoggi's murder: New Saudi finance minister says country 'not in crisis' over incident
Assaf, a former finance minister who was detained last year in what Riyadh said was an anti-corruption sweep, replaced Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister in the sweeping government shake-up ordered by King Salman.
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's new foreign minister voiced defiance on Friday in the face of international outrage over critic Jamal Khashoggi's murder, rejecting the kingdom was in crisis and his predecessor was demoted. "The issue of Jamal Khashoggi... really saddened us, all of us," Ibrahim al-Assaf told AFP, a day after he was appointed a foreign minister in a government reshuffle.
"But all in all, we are not going through a crisis, we are going through a transformation," he added, referring to social and economic reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The prince, the heir to the Saudi throne, has faced intense international scrutiny over the 2 October murder of journalist Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate — which critics say has left the oil-rich Gulf nation diplomatically weakened.
Assaf, a former finance minister who was detained last year in what Riyadh said was an anti-corruption sweep, replaced Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister in the sweeping government shake-up ordered by King Salman. Jubeir, who sought to defend the tainted government internationally after Khashoggi's murder, was appointed the minister of state for foreign affairs, which was widely seen as a demotion. "This is far from the truth," Assaf said. "Adel represented Saudi Arabia and will continue to represent Saudi Arabia... around the world. We complement each other."
For Hamilton, who has cut Verstappen's championship lead with successive wins in Brazil and Qatar, it was a fifth pole of the season and 103rd of his career.
Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas clocked the day's second quickest time of 1min 29.079secs, just 0.61secs behind Hamilton.
Check out photos of celebrities who will be gracing the Saudi Arabia's first Red Sea International Film Festival from 6 to 15 December.