Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia)

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Saudi Arabia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia).png
Agency overview
Formed 1930; 84 years ago (1930)
Preceding Agency Directorate General for Foreign Affairs
Jurisdiction Saudi Arabia and its diplomatic missions worldwide
Headquarters Nasseriya Street, Riyadh
Agency executives Prince Saud Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Nizar bin Obaid Madani, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Saudi Arabia
Basic Law
Foreign relations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Arabic: وزارة الخارجيةWizārat al-Khārijīyah) is the ministry responsible for handling the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's external relations. The ministry oversees "political, cultural and financial international relations" and monitors the Kingdom's diplomatic relations.[1] It was created in 1930 by a royal decree issued by King Abdulaziz Al Saud, being the first ministrial body created by the King.[2][3]

At the ministry, the Salafi interpretation of Islam is also dominant as in other governmental bodies and it is used as an alternative foreign policy tool that projects Saudi power across the Muslim world.[4]

Senior officials[edit]

The senior officials in the ministry are as follows:[5]

Official Rank
Saud Al Faisal Minister
Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Deputy minister
Nizar Madani Minister of state for foreign affairs


While consolidating the newly formed Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz, King Abdulaziz, established foreign diplomatic relations by sending representatives and receiving delegations from various states. In 1926, he established the directorate general for foreign affairs in Mecca.[3] The first director general of foreign affairs was Abdullah Beg Al Damluji, who was also ruler of Mecca at that time.[6] In 1930, a royal decree was issued to elevate the directorate general to the ministry of foreign affairs. King Abdulaziz appointed his son, Prince Faisal, as the first foreign minister.[7] The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formally established by King Abdulaziz in 1932.

At the initial phase, the ministry was made up of five department, namely the private office and the departments of oriental affairs, administrative affairs, political affairs and consular affairs.[3] The ministry began establishing diplomatic missions abroad. The first one was opened in Cairo in 1926 followed by another in London 1930.[3] The number of missions increased from five in 1936 to 18 in 1951 and expanded further after that.

Aside from a brief interjection, Prince Faisal continued to serve even after he succeeded the throne as King. After his assassination in 1975, Faisal was succeeded as foreign minister by his son, Prince Saud.[7] Saud is currently the longest-serving foreign minister of any country in history.[8] The ministry launched a magazine, The Diplomat, in 2007.[9]

It was rumored in 2010 that the next Foreign Minister would be Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saud's younger brother, after Saud retires.[10]

List of previous ministers[edit]

The following is the list of foreign ministers since its foundation in 1930:[7]

  1. Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (1930–1960)
  2. Ibrahim bin Abdullah Al Suwaiyel (1960–1962)
  3. Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (1962–1975)
  4. Saud Al Faisal (1975–present)

The ministers of state for foreign affairs served are as follows:[6]

  1. Omar Al Saqqaf (1968–1974)
  2. Nizar Madani (2005–present)


The building of the ministry is in Riyadh and was designed by Henning Larsen. It blends both vernacular and monumental styles of Islamic architecture.[11] Larsen received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989 for his work on the building.[11][12]

Built in 1984, building consists of meeting, conference and prayer rooms, a library and a banquet hall.[11] Externally, the building appears as a fortress that was carved out of a single piece of stone.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ministry Addresses". Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, DC. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Hertog, Steffen (2007). "Shaping the Saudi state: Human agency's shifting role in the rentier state formation". International Journal Middle East Studies 39: 539–563. doi:10.1017/S0020743807071073. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Al Kahtani, Mohammad Zaid (December 2004). "The Foreign Policy of King Abdulaziz". University of Leeds. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Political Outlook for Saudi Arabia". Chatham House. May 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Senior Officials". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia). Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "حول الوزارة" (in Arabic). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia). 5 May 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Brief History". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Saudi Arabia). 5 May 2005. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Slackman, Michael (9 December 2009). "A Legacy of Regret for a Saudi Diplomat". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Diplomat". Arab Media Company. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Simon (22 October 2010). "Foreign Policy: A Prince's Mysterious Disappearance". National Public Radio. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c "Ministry of Foreign Affairs". ArchNet. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Rivas, Paul. "Islamic architecture personified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh". The Saudi Gazette. Retrieved 30 April 2011.