Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—New Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz has called for national unity and solidarity following the death of King Abdullah, moving quickly to appoint a new Crown Prince and Deputy Crown Prince. He pledged no change in the Kingdom’s direction, stressing that he will follow the “true approach” of his predecessors.
In his first speech as King, the new Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques said: “I am, God-willing, to carry out this great trust. We will continue, with God’s grace and strength, committed to the true approach which was followed by this state since its inception at the hands of the founder, King Abdulaziz, God’s mercy upon him, and at the hands of his sons after him, God’s mercy upon them.”
“The Arab and Islamic nation is in dire need today of unity and the maintenance of solidarity. We will continue in this country, that God has honored by choosing it as a platform for His message and as the direction Muslims must pray. Our march is to undertake everything possible to keep the unity of our ranks and the unity of word and in defense of our nation’s issues, guided by the teachings of our true Islamic religion which was favored by the Lord to us, the religion of peace, mercy and moderation,” he added.
“I ask God to assist me to serve our dear people and realize their hopes, and to preserve our country and our nation’s security and stability, and to protect them from all evils, for He is the master and able to do that. There’s no strength except with God,” King Salman’s first statement as Saudi monarch concluded.
The new Saudi monarch moved quickly on Friday, issuing a royal decree appointing Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz as the new Crown Prince and heir to the throne.
King Salman also appointed Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz as the new Deputy Crown Prince and Second Deputy Prime Minister. Prince Mohammed Bin Naif is the son of former Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz and the first grandson of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdulaziz, to be officially placed in the Saudi line of succession.
King Salman appointed his son, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as the country’s new Defense Minister and head of the Royal Court, the SPA reported. King Salman had been Saudi Arabia’s defense minister since 2011. In the same royal decree, the new Saudi monarch announced that all other cabinet members would remain in their ministerial positions for the time being.
Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council have been called to pledge allegiance to the new King, Crown Prince and Deputy Crown Prince at Governance Palace in Riyadh following Isha (night) prayers on Friday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.