JEDDAH: Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been appointed as crown prince, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Naif, a royal decree carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Wednesday.
The SPA report said Mohammed bin Salman was chosen as crown prince by 31 out of 34 members of the Kingdom’s Succession Committee during a meeting at Al Safa Palace in Makkah during the early hours of Wednesday.
The new crown prince serves in a concurrent capacity as defense minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
The decree issued by King Salman also appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif as interior minister, a post held by the former crown prince.
Born Nov. 4, 1983, Prince Abdulaziz is the youngest ever to serve as interior minister in the Kingdom.
SPA said King Salman appointed the following as advisers to the Royal Court with the rank of minister: Abdul Rahman bin Ali Rubaiaan, Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al Dawoud, Bandar bin Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sudairy was named adviser to the Royal Court with excellent rank.
Also appointed were: Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Salem, deputy interior minister with the rank of minister; Prince Bandar bin Faisal bin Bandar, assistant to the President of the General Intelligence; Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, vice chairman of the General Authority for Sport Management; and Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, deputy to the Emir of Al-Jouf.
Appointed as the Kingdom’s new ambassadors were Prince Faisal bin Sattam bin Abdulaziz, to Italy, and Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, to Germany.
In a viral video that has been circulated on social media, Prince Mohammed bin Naif, former crown prince, pledged allegiance to the newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al-Safa Palace on Wednesday.
Congratulatory messages pour in
The new appointment received a broad support in the national, Islamic and international spheres.
The highest religious body, Council of Senior Scholars, pledged allegiance to the newly appointed Crown Prince in a series of tweets hailing the leadership’s wise choice.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the choice by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud of Prince Muhammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz as crown prince and vice chairman of the Council of Ministers, while continuing in his role as defense minister.
OIC Secretary General Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen expressed his congratulations to King Salman over this choice, given Prince Muhammed’s experience, wisdom and vision in the management of the affairs of the Kingdom, his dedication to the service of his religion, nation and ummah, and his commitment to taking far-reaching steps on joint actions in the interest of the Islamic world.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Makkah-based Muslim World League, described the appointment of the new crown prince as successful and promising given the national and international prestige Mohammed bin Salman enjoys.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Issa said Prince Mohammed bin Salman had always served his religion first, and his country, king and nation second.
Head of the Council of Pakistanis Scholars, Sheikh Al-Hafiz Mohammad Taher Mahmoud Ashrafi, backed the royal decree and said that the appointment is a wise step taken by King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council, as Prince Mohammed is known for his ethics and leadership, as seen in Vision 2030.
On the international scale, the United States President Donald Trump called the newly-appointed crown prince and congratulated hims on new promotion, saying it “strengthens” the United States partnership with the Kingdom.
The Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, sent a letter congratulating Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment as Saudi’s Crown Prince and vice chairman of the Council of Ministers.
“This choice is a recognition of the great effort you have made throughout the years to enhance the importance and centrality of your country’s role in achieving delicate balances for the region,” the letter read.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s ruler, whose country is facing a boycott by some of its neighbors over allegations of supporting terrorism, has congratulated Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment as crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the state news agency QNA said.
QNA said the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, sent a cable to Prince Mohammed “wishing him success ... for the good of the kingdom under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ... and for more progress for brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his congratulations to prince Mohammed bin Salman on his new post as Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince.
Saudi stock market soars
The Saudi stock market index on Wednesday jumped by 5.5 percent to an 18-month high, following news that King Salman has placed his 31-year-old son next in line to the throne.
-With input from Reuters