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'Everything Is Just Fine,' Ousted Sheik Yamani Says

November 02, 1986|Associated Press

MANAMA, Bahrain — Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, ousted as Saudi Arabia's oil minister after a quarter-century in that post, said Saturday that "everything is just fine" and he was reflecting on his future.

"I am chatting with my guests and having a good and happy time," Yamani, who was fired Thursday, said during a telephone interview with the Associated Press from his home in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. "Everything is just fine."

Yamani, 56, a Harvard-educated attorney, was last seen by the Saudi public in television reports of Monday's weekly Cabinet session, which was chaired by King Fahd.

Asked about his future plans Saturday, Yamani said, "I am reflecting at the moment. Give me about a week and, God willing, then I will tell you my plans."

There had been reports at the OPEC conference in Geneva last month that Yamani was ill.

Some suggested it had been a "diplomatic illness." Rumors had persisted in recent months that Yamani had fallen into disfavor with the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

Yamani said he had been sick near the end of the 17-day, marathon conference which ended Oct. 22.

"I had food poisoning from some fish I ate," he said.

He returned home from the meeting to be relieved of his post by royal decree, replaced by planning minister Hisham Nazer.

Arab diplomats and other Saudi sources said it was not likely that Yamani would command vast influence again.

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