Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (Arabic: عادل بن أحمد الجبير; born 1 February 1962) is a diplomat who has been Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs since 29 April 2015. He is the second person not belonging to the House of Saud to hold the office, after Ibrahim bin Abdullah Al Suwaiyel. He previously served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2015, and he was also a foreign policy advisor to King Abdullah.
Al-Jubeir was born in Al Majma'ah, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia. He attended schools in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Yemen, Lebanon and the U.S. He obtained a B.A. summa cum laude in political science and economics from the University of North Texas in 1982, and an M.A. in international relations from Georgetown University in 1984. In 2006, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of North Texas.
In 1987, Al-Jubeir was appointed into the Saudi Diplomatic Service and posted to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC, where he served as Special Assistant to then Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan. It was in 1991 during the first Gulf War when Al-Jubeir first appeared to the world as a spokesman for the Saudi government. In 1990-91, he was part of the Saudi team that established the Joint Information Bureau at Dhahran, a city in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He was a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference in October 1991, and a member of the Saudi delegation to the Multilateral Arms Control Talks in Washington, DC in 1992. In December 1992, he was dispatched with the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope.
Al-Jubeir was a member of the Saudi Arabian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, and was a visiting diplomatic fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, 1994-95. During his tenure at the Saudi Embassy, Al-Jubeir developed strong ties on Capitol Hill, in the Administration, the media and with major think tanks in Washington. In 2000, Al-Jubeir became Director of the Saudi Information and Congressional Affairs Office at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC. In late 2000, he was named Foreign Affairs Advisor in the Crown Prince’s Court. In August 2005, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz appointed Al-Jubeir to the position of Advisor at the Royal Court.
Following the September 11 attacks, Al-Jubeir returned to the United States to address the many questions and criticisms that faced the Kingdom at that time. Al-Jubeir became the face of Saudi Arabia through hundreds of television appearances as well as other media interviews and visited more than 25 cities around the country where he gave talks to World Affairs Councils, universities, civic organizations, business institutions and other interested groups about current events and the state of Saudi/U.S. relations.
On 29 January 2007 Al-Jubeir was appointed as Saudi Ambassador to the United States of America with the rank of Minister. As ambassador, Al-Jubeir focused on strengthening the bilateral relationship by building ties across government departments in both countries. Another key area of focus was the welfare of Saudi citizens living in the United States. Other issues of focus included counter-terrorism, regional peace and security, bilateral trade, cultural exchange and interfaith dialogue. Prior to becoming ambassador, he was instrumental in establishing and maintaining the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Dialogue, which was initiated by King Abdullah and President Bush as a means to institutionalize relations between the two nations and deepen coordination on strategic, political and economic issues.
As Ambassador Al-Jubeir travelled frequently to the Kingdom for consultations with the King and other senior Saudi officials. He was regularly seen with King Abdullah in meetings with world leaders and accompanied King Abdullah on many state visits including Oman, China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia in 2006, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Egypt in 2007, G20 London Summit and Doha Arab Summit in 2009 and G20 Toronto Summit in 2010.
Ambassador Al-Jubeir was part of King Abdullah’s delegation on his visit to the Vatican in November 2007, where King Abduallah met with Pope Benedict XVI, the first meeting between a Saudi monarch and a Pope. In July 2008, King Abdullah convened an interfaith conference in Madrid, Spain, bringing together major figures from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism to reinforce the common values shared by their respective faiths.
In November 2007, Al-Jubeir joined Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal for the meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers in Cairo in preparation for the Annapolis Peace Conference. He was also a member of the Saudi delegation to the Annapolis Peace Conference in November 2007.
During Ambassador Al-Jubeir’s tenure, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. signed a series of bilateral agreements in key areas including civil nuclear cooperation, enhanced security arrangements, reciprocal visa policies, health and medical services, science and technology cooperation, among others. The two countries also established two Joint Task Forces— one to combat terrorists, another to combat terror financing. Experts from both governments and militaries worked side-by-side, sharing real-time information about terror networks.
In October 2010, Saudi intelligence provided key information to American officials that foiled an attempted terrorist plot involving parcel bombs heading to the United States that originated in Yemen. The bombs were found and defused before reaching their intended targets. According to news reports, a double-agent in Yemen was the source of the tip-off.
Al-Jubeir enhanced the embassy’s focus on its ties with the United States Congress through extensive meetings and briefings with members of Congress and staff as well as facilitating visits to the Kingdom. In the spring of 2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the Kingdom with a Congressional delegation, the first visit by a sitting Speaker of the House. In addition, the tempo of visits by senior U.S. officials increased substantially during his tenure as ambassador, including two visits by President Bush, multiple visits by Vice President Dick Cheney and visits by President Obama in 2009 and 2014. Other visits included National Security Advisors James L. Jones and Thomas Donilon; Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry; Secretaries of Treasury Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner; Secretary of Energy Steven Chu; Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel; CENTCOM Commanders Generals David Petraeus, James Mattis and Lloyd J. Austin III; FBI Director Robert Mueller; Homeland Security Advisor John O. Brennan and Special Envoys George J. Mitchell, Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrooke and a large number of sub cabinet officials.
Visits to the United States by senior Saudi officials since 2007 have included two Heads of State visits by King Abdullah in November 2008 and July 2010. In addition, there were a number of visits by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, then Minister of Defense now King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, then Assistant to the Minister of Interior for Security Affairs now Second Deputy Prime Minister, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, then Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Mohammed al-Jasser, then Minister of Commerce Abdullah Alireza, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities Prince Sultan bin Salman and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Al-Angary.
In addition to visits by government officials, there have been numerous trade delegations to and from both countries as well as academic exchanges, including visits by the head of the Human Rights Committee and members of the Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council).
These visits reflect the breadth and depth of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Ambassador al-Jubeir served as the Escorting Minister for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on their respective visits to the Kingdom.
On 3 June 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia. President Obama was received by King Abdullah, Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz and Ambassador Al-Jubeir at King Khalid International Airport.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, President Obama stated that he chose Saudi Arabia as the first stop on his Middle East tour because the Kingdom is a key ally and the cradle of Islam. The President and King Abdullah met and held extensive bilateral talks at the King’s ranch in al-Janadriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh. During their discussions, the two leaders focused on regional and international developments and Saudi-U.S. bilateral relations. King Abdullah presented President Obama with the The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Kingdom’s highest award bestowed upon Heads of State.
On 29 June 2010, Ambassador Al-Jubeir attended a meeting between King Abdullah and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. The two held on talks on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and common concern.
On 8 January 2011, Ambassador Al-Jubeir attended a meeting in New York between King Abdullah and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton as well as meetings between the King and French President Nicolas Sarkozy and United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
In 2007, he headed the Kingdom’s delegation to the Law of the Seas Conference at the United Nations. In 2009, he met with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon to discuss the ongoing situation in Darfur and in July 2011, he led the Saudi delegation to the U.N. High Level Meeting on Youth.
Developments during tenure as ambassador
In 2012, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom issued more than 90,000 visas to Saudis. The Saudi Embassy in Washington and Consulates in the U.S. issued more than 70,000 visas. These are historically high numbers. As a result of an agreement reached in May 2008, the two countries agreed to issue five-year multiple-entry visas to citizens of both countries. In May 2013, Saudi Arabia and the United States signed a bilateral agreement for air services aimed at implementing an open skies policy between the two countries. As a consequence, American carriers can expand services into Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabian Airlines can increase the frequency of its flights to the U.S.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James B. Smith stated, “Offering new types of visas to foreign scientists and experts, as well as for student exchanges in scientific fields, opens doors for the people of Saudi Arabia to learn from other countries and for the world to learn from and about Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Arabia is the 10th largest trading partner of the United States. Investments between the two countries are also at record numbers. The United States is the number one source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia. Strategic partnerships between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. continue to flourish. In 2010, Alcoa and Saudi Ma’aden signed a contract worth approximately $15 billion to build the world’s largest aluminum refinery and smelter complex in the Kingdom. In 2011, Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical Company approved the formation of a joint venture to build and operate a world-scale, fully integrated chemical complex in Jubail Industrial City, valued at $20 billion. In 2013, the Saudi government Public Investment fund signed a management contract with Fluor for the $7 billion Riyadh-Jeddah railway project. Also in 2013, a Bechtel led consortium was selected for a multibillion-dollar rail project of the Riyadh Metro network. Saudi Arabia is also a large investor in the U.S. economy.
In 2008, the Kingdom secured sophisticated weapon systems, which include the Joint Direct Attack Munitions. In December 2011, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia finalized a defense packages that included F-15 fighter aircraft and upgrades for 70 existing aircraft, as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics to Saudi Arabia. The sale was worth $29.4 billion.
2011 assassination plot
On 11 October 2011, U.S. authorities accused elements within the Iranian government of attempting to assassinate Ambassador Al-Jubeir in the United States. President Obama called Al-Jubeir that same day to express the solidarity of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, referring to the foiled assassination plot as a "flagrant violation of U.S. and international law." The accused, Mansour Arbabsiar, confessed and was sentenced on 30 May 2013 in New York federal court to 25 years in prison.
In April 2015, he was appointed as foreign minister by King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He is the first commoner to hold the post.
Iran nuclear deal
Speaking on the nuclear program of Iran al Jubeir said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action appears to have the provisions needed to curtail Iran's ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. Adel al-Jubeir told reporters the kingdom has been reassured by Washington while consultations continue about the deal, which he said stipulates effective inspections, and the possibility of snap-back sanctions if Iran violates the agreement. "We are currently in talks with the American government regarding these details, but it (the deal) generally seems to have achieved these objectives," said al-Jubeir, in Washington in July 2015.
Russian involvement in Syria
Following the Russian intervention in Syria in support of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad al-Jubeir spoke about, “There is no future for Assad in Syria,”. He spelled out that if the president did not step down as part of a political transition, his country would embrace a military option, “which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power”.
Removal of Assad
"Bashar al-Assad will leave - have no doubt about it," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN. "He will either leave by a political process or he will be removed by force." Saudi Arabia has sent troops and fighter jets to a Turkish military base ahead of a possible ground invasion of Syria. Jubeir said Saudi Arabia is prepared to contribute ground troops to the fight in Syria, but only as part of a US-led coalition. He added: "We will push as much as we can to ensure that the political process works. But if that doesn't work, it will be because of the obstinance of the Syrian regime and that of its allies. "And should that prove to be the case, then it becomes clear that there is no option to remove Bashar al-Assad except by force."
In December 2002, al-Jubeir was chosen as Person of the Week by Time. He has lectured at universities and academic institutions in the U.S. and appears frequently in the media.
In 2007, he received the "Commendatore a Sua Eccellenza" from the Italian president.
In 2009, he received the Ambassador of the Year award from the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to Saudi-U.S. relations. In 2011, he was presented with the Diplomatic Achievement Award from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
Adel Al-Jubeir is married to Farah Al-Fayez, and is step-father to her two twin girls by her late husband, Haya and Ayah. He also has two sons of his own by his wife.