In October 2019, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a royal order to appoint Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, 45, as foreign minister, instead of Ibrahim Al Assaf, 70.
A 45-year-old former businessman, Prince Faisal is known for his intellectual acumen, a no-nonsense approach to running a business and innate diplomatic skills, according to former colleagues and acquaintances.
Prince Faisal assumed the Saudi Foreign Ministry, armed with extensive experience in multiple fields over two decades, as he held important positions and roles since he was 22 years old, including about 12 years in the aviation and defense industry.
The Saudi minister also has significant diplomatic experience through his work in his country’s embassies in two important countries in the world, the last of which was the Kingdom’s ambassador to Germany since February 10 until today, and he also worked in the previous period as a consultant at the Saudi embassy in the United States of America.
After his appointment as ambassador of his country in Germany, the German newspaper “Der Spiegel” described him as an “important diplomat.”
Prince Faisal bin Farhan was born in 1974, he is fluent in both German and English, and is described as the Spoken Political Speaker, during his participation in Western research centers and media.
His public career started at the age of 22, when he held the position of Vice Chairman of the Saudi Maintenance and Operation Company during the period 1996-1998.
He also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Salam Aircraft Company and then as Chairman of the Board during the period from 2001-2013.
His work acquires importance during that period, given the position of Al Salam Aircraft Company, which is one of the companies of the Saudi Economic Balance Program. The company is carrying out heavy maintenance of military and civil aircraft, the transfer of technology from the industrialized countries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is one of the largest airlines.
On April 22, 2017, a royal decree was issued appointing him a consultant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Senior Adviser worked in the rank of excellent at the Kingdom’s embassy in Washington previously.
He also served on the Board of Directors of the Saudi Military Industries Company and Chairman of the Executive Committee in 2017.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan is also a founding partner and chairman of the North Investment Company 2003-2017.
A firm message to Iran
A month before he took office, Prince Faisal bin Farhan – while he was the ambassador of his country in Germany – sent a strong message to Iran, after two Aramco factories were attacked in the dawn of September 14th 2019.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the problem his country is facing with Iran is that the latter continues to carry out attacks and then refuses to assume responsibility, and therefore “we find it difficult to trust them,”
He said in with regard to the Iranian attacks through an interview with the German public-broadcasting radio station in Germany, “Deutschlandfunk”: “The recent attack is an attack on the world economy. Such an attack that stopped our oil production for a short period affects the entire world, and of course these attacks must be taken seriously,”
He added: “Iran must take responsibility and realize that it cannot continue with its aggression. It must also show the region that it has become a responsible country, that it is not supportive of the militias or terrorist attacks and so on,”
He continued: “The important thing now is for the whole world to unite and make clear that such violations of international law are unacceptable and that these attacks are totally unacceptable … This is of course our problem with Iran that it continues to carry out such attacks and then refuses to take any responsibility, therefore we find it difficult to trust it,”.
The kingdom relies in the coming period on the new minister in order to benefit from his experiences and capabilities in pumping new ideas and achieving qualitative leaps in foreign policy, in a period when the region and the world face important challenges on various levels, chief among them Iranian interference in the affairs of the countries of the region.