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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Saudi US envoy replacement named
Prince Turki al-Faisal
Prince Turki al-Faisal is currently ambassador to the UK and Ireland
The Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has resigned and will be replaced by the current envoy in London, Saudi Arabia says.

The foreign ministry in Riyadh said Prince Turki al-Faisal would take up the diplomatic post in Washington.

A ministry statement said Prince Bandar had asked King Fahd to "relieve him of his duties for private reasons".

It praised his "exceptional gifts" during some 20 years of "distinguished service" as ambassador to the US.

Rumours that Prince Bandar had submitted his resignation surfaced at the end of last month, and were initially played down by the embassy in Washington.

Saudi ambassador to London from 2003 to present
Head of Saudi foreign intelligence 1977 to 2001
Brother to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal
Born in 1945 in Mecca, educated in US and UK

But he is known to be in poor health and is thought to want a senior job back home, such as head of intelligence, which is currently vacant.

Prince Bandar has played a critical role in building the special relationship between Riyadh and Washington, and has had extraordinary access to US presidents for three decades.

He leaves at a time when that relationship is under great pressure, particularly following the 11 September 2001 attacks and the subsequent war on terror.

The process of nominating Prince Turki to the role is now under way, the ministry statement said.

Prince Turki has been the ambassador in London since early in 2003.

He was Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief for 24 years until 2001.

Profile: Prince Bandar
29 Jun 05 |  Middle East
Saudi's Washington envoy resigns
29 Jun 05 |  Middle East
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
30 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Saudi Arabia
10 Feb 05 |  Country profiles

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