Saudi king makes minor cabinet reshuffle
Saudi King Abdullah made a minor reshuffle in the cabinet of the oil-rich kingdom on Tuesday, the first since 2009, state media reported. The main ministries of defence, interior and foreign affairs, held by top members of the royal family, remain unchanged, as does the strategic energy ministry, Al Ahram reported.
In the reshuffle, planning and economy minister Khaled al-Gosaibi was replaced by Mohammed al-Jasser, who had served since February 2009 as governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), or the central bank. Fahed al-Mubarak succeeded Jasser.
The king also removed the minister of commerce and industry, Abdullah Zainel, and replaced him with Tawfeeq al-Rabeeah, while the minister of hajj Fuad al-Farsi was replaced by Bandar al-Hajjar.
Mohammed al-Fayez, who served as civil service minister, was replaced by Abdullah al-Barrak.
The current defence minister, Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a younger half-brother of the king, took office in November, following the death of his brother, the then crown prince Sultan who held the portfolio for decades.
The current cabinet was formed in March 2007, and should have been replaced in spring this year after serving its four-year term. In February 2009, the king made limited changes to the cabinet, and appointed the first woman to the post of deputy education minister.
The king holds the post of prime minister.