Saudi Arabia’s long-serving oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani dies at 90

Saudi Arabia’s long-serving oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani dies at 90
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IslamNews – Ahmed Zaki Yamani, a long-serving oil minister in Saudi Arabia who led the kingdom through the 1973 oil crisis, the nationalisation its state energy company and later found himself kidnapped by the assassin Carlos the Jackal, died Tuesday in London. He was 90.

Saudi state television reported his death, without offering a cause. It said he would be buried in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Known for his Western-style business suits and soft-spoken, measured tones, Yamani helped Saudi Arabia command a dominating presence in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from its birth. The kingdom remains a heavyweight in the group even today and its decisions ripple through the oil industry, affecting prices from the barrel down to the gasoline pump.

Yamani became oil minister in 1962 and would lead the ministry until 1986. He served a crucial role in the nascent oil cartel OPEC as producers around the world began to try to dictate prices to the world market previously dominated by the economic policies of Western nations.

Yamani was the first Saudi representative on OPEC’s board of governors in 1961. From his position, he became known not for the hysterics that accompanied years of turmoil across the wider Middle East, but an ever-calm negotiating style that Saudi ministers after him sought to mimic.

Yamani became oil minister in 1962 and would lead the ministry until 1986. He served a crucial role in the nascent oil cartel OPEC as producers around the world began to try to dictate prices to the world market previously dominated by the economic policies of Western nations.

Yamani also oversaw what would become the full nationalisation of the Arabian American Oil Co. after the 1973 oil crisis. Today, it’s better known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, a major employer for the kingdom and its main source of revenue.

In 1986, Saudi King Fahd dismissed Yamani with a terse statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Yamani was born in Mecca in 1930, when camels still roamed the streets of the holy city. His father and grandfather were religious teachers and Islamic lawyers. He ultimately studied at New York University and Harvard. Twice married, he is survived by multiple children and grandchildren.

Source: Gulf News

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