Saudi king names son as US envoy as ties boosted with Trump

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi received a royal welcome from King Salman as he landed on Sunday in Saudi Arabia for a visit to boost ties after months of tension.

Prince Abdullah had served for just over a year, according to the website of the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Though a member of the royal family, Prince Abdullah was not seen as part of the inner Al Saud circle and is not a direct grandson of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdulaziz.

Sisi insisted the islands are technically Saudi, but the agreement sparked the largest anti-government street demonstrations since the former general took office in 2014.

Saudi Arabia supported Egypt with billions of dollars in aid after Sisi toppled President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 when he was head of the Egyptian army.

Late past year, the Arab News reported that Araj was under investigation by the kingdom's anti-corruption commission for the alleged "irregular hiring" of his son.

Awad Al-Awad has been appointed minister of culture and information, replacing Adel Al-Turaifi.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman was named the Kingdom's new minister of state for energy affairs.

Minister of Communications Muhammad Al-Suwail has been relieved and Muhammad Al-Sawaha was appointed as new minister. Officials said on Saturday that the cuts had been cancelled because of better-than-expected budgetary performance in the first quarter of 2017.

"The royal order returns all allowances, financial benefits, and bonuses to civil servants and military staff", said the decree, broadcast on state-run Ekhbariya TV.

The measures were the first pay cuts for government employees, who make up about two-thirds of working Saudis, and prompted complaints about the impact of austerity on ordinary Saudis.

Last Thursday, the Saudi labor ministry announced that foreigners would no longer be allowed to work in Saudi Arabia's numerous shopping malls. Sissi claims the islands were Saudi territory and had been leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Saudi Arabia has reshuffled its cabinet and replaced a number of key officials, local media reported late Saturday.

King Salman toured Asia in March that included visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and China, and resulted in trade and investment deals.

  • Joey Payne