David Ignatius speaks to Al Arabiya about the late Saud al-Faisal

Washington Post's David Ignatius spoke of former Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in an interview with Al Arabiya

Shounaz Meky

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Prominent American journalist David Ignatius spoke of how former Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was a key player in sustaining a "long friendship" between Saudi Arabia and its main ally, the United States.

Ignatius gave an interview to Al Arabiya News Channel earlier this week in honor of Prince Saud.

The Washington Post columnist described him as a “deeply pro-American person” who was educated at Princeton and lived in the States for quite a long time.

He said Prince Saud regarded America as a difficult partner, just like how Saudi Arabia was to the States.

Throughout the years, the prince was constantly concerned with America’s inability to push the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks to reach a reasonable conclusion, he added.

Prince Saud - the world’s longest-serving foreign minister - died on July 9, 2015, two months after he retired following 40 years in the job.

His tenure included Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and 2006, the Palestinian intifadas that erupted in 1987 and 2000, Iraq invading Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990, and a U.S.-led coalition’s occupation of Iraq in 2003.

Ignatius recalled when he met Prince Saud in April 2003 prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, that the prince was “deeply anxious” about the United States’ involvement in Iraq, describing it as “a war of occupation.”

“[He] told me very clearly that if the United States appeared to be occupying this greater capital of Baghdad it would create all the fears in the Arab world that were leftover the age of colonialism…”

Prince Saud warned that this was a recipe for “continuous war,” Ignatius recalled.

He also said he was always moved by the strength of Prince Saud, who retained a knack for mental sharpness despite the many illnesses he suffered from.

Prince Saud suffered from a chronic back trouble and other conditions. His deteriorating health was most obvious with his hands appearing shaky and his speech slurred during public appearances.

“The ideas he expressed even with this weakened body were clear and powerful that’s what I remember being moved by the most.”

“Our bodies leave us, but our minds stay strong and clear. Nobody showed that more than Prince Saud."

Ignatius has interviewed Prince Saud several times. The columnist described his last encounter with al-Faisal in Riyadh in 2011 as "the most poignant."

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