Crown Prince Salman also named prime minister of Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with the US secretary of state in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on September 18, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Pool/Getty Images)

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely regarded as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, was appointed prime minister by royal decree on Tuesday by his father, the king.

The prince, commonly referred to as "MBS," served as defense minister in the Saudi Arabian government earlier.

Prince Khalid, the second son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, was appointed from deputy defense minister to defense minister.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, another son, retained his role as energy minister.

And a member of the royal family, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who had previously served as ambassador to his native Germany, retained the absolute monarchy's foreign minister.

Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih, who are not members of the royal family, remained in their roles.

The 86-year-old king will continue to preside over Cabinet meetings he attends, per royal decree. Following the announcement, Saudi official television displayed King Salman presiding over the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The monarch, who ascended to the throne in 2015, has been hospitalized multiple times in recent years due to his deteriorating health.

Salman pursues an image as a modernizer, but repression continues.
The crown prince is a key role in the kingdom's "Vision 2030" initiative to modernize the economy and energy infrastructure. He has also advocated for societal reforms such as permitting women to drive under certain conditions.

Critics assert that Saudi Arabia has achieved only limited progress towards modernity, which has been accompanied by a continuous assault on civil rights advocates, the irreligious, and those expressing opposition to the Islamic monarchy.

The 2018 disappearance of famous Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, has damaged MBS's reputation. US intelligence determined that the crown prince most likely authorized the murder.

As a result of Khashoggi's death, Western nations first distanced themselves from the monarchy, but the leaders of France, Germany, and the United States have all lately held discussions with Salman, as western Europe seeks alternative suppliers of fossil fuels to Russia.

President Joe Biden previously stated that he would make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over the murder, but he visited the country and talked with the crown prince earlier this year, recognizing the enduring significance of relations with the world's largest oil exporter.

Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the Gulf states, where he met with MBS. Scholz told reporters in Jeddah that he and the crown prince "discussed all questions revolving around citizens' and human rights." while facing criticism at home for avoiding difficult subjects in Saudi Arabia, considering the urgent need for alternate gas and oil sources.

"That is appropriate. Consequently, it is safe to assume that everything that needs to be said has been stated "Scholz informed the media. The German chancellor did not define what "needed to be said" during the bilateral discussions.

Publish : 2022-09-28 11:05:00

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