Salman elevated to new Saudi crown prince

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PV International Desk : Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was elevated to crown prince on Wednesday, replacing his cousin in a sudden announcement that confirms King Salman’s 31-year-old son as next ruler of the world’s leading oil exporter.

A royal decree said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counter-terrorism chief admired in Washington for putting down an al Qaeda campaign of bombings in 2003-06, was relieved of all positions and replaced by Mohammed bin Salman who becomes deputy prime minister and retains defence, oil and other portfolios.

The decision by King Salman to promote his son and consolidate his power was endorsed by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, made up of senior members of the ruling Al Saud family, the royal decree said.

Analysts said the change empowers Prince Mohammed bin Salman to move faster with his plan to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil, which includes the partial privatisation of state oil company Aramco.