Saudi Arabian Labour Minister Ghazi Algosaibi died on Sunday at the age of 70 after a career as a diplomat, government minister and author, Al-Arabiya news channel reported.
Algosaibi was admitted to Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital about a month ago for treatment for cancer, the Dubai- based news channel said on its website, without saying where it got the information. He had received medical care in the US, it said.
Algosaibi served four Saudi kings in different government positions, including as the minister of health and the minister of water and electricity in the Arab world’s largest economy. He was appointed labor minister in 2004.
His diplomatic career spanned the first Gulf War, when U.S.-led forces ousted Iraq’s troops from Kuwait in 1991, and the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the US in September 2001. He was Saudi ambassador to Bahrain from 1984 to 1992, after which he was appointed Saudi ambassador to the U.K., a post he held until 2002.
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp after the terror attacks in the US, Algosaibi said that while the Saudi government supported the US-led war against terrorism, it was worried that this had turned into a fight against Islam.
Algosaibi wrote novels, poetry and essays, some of which were banned in the Islamic state because of their focus on the problems of conservative Saudi society. He was removed from his post as ambassador to the UK after publishing poetry in an Arabic-language newspaper that some interpreted as glorifying a Palestinian suicide bomber.
His work “The Gulf Crisis” provides an insider’s account of the Arab reaction to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. “A Love Story,” published in 2002, describes the life of a novelist dying in a hospital bed through dreams and memories of his love affair with a married woman.
Algosaibi earned a law degree from Cairo University, a masters in international relations from the University of Southern California and a doctorate from the University of London, Al-Arabiya said. He was born in March 1940 in the oasis city of Hofuf in the east of Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg)