Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, has submitted his resignation, a Saudi official said Tuesday.

The official did not say why Turki has decided to leave his post and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

But the Saudi Embassy in Washington, where Turki has been posted since September 2005, confirmed the resignation and said the prince will leave for Saudi Arabia early next year to spend more time with his family.

The Saudi government has not formally announced the resignation or a successor.

Turki began his career in 1973 as adviser to the royal court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 1977, he was appointed as head of the Saudi intelligence service, a job he left a couple of weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Turki, 61, later was appointed ambassador to London, where he served until he moved to Washington.

Turki is a son of the late King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz and a brother of Saudi Foreign Minister Saudi Al-Faisal.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan preceded Turki as the kingdom's top diplomat in Washington, occupying the post for 22 years.

During his tenure, Bandar enjoyed unusual access to the American president and was a close friend of the first President Bush. He stepped down for personal reasons.