Saudi king appoints nephew as new crown prince


Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz replaced his younger-half brother with his nephew as the next in line to the throne of the Gulf monarchy, in a middle-of-the-night reshuffle of the government.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef replaces Crown Prince Muqrin, marking a generational shift as he becomes the first grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia to move so close to the throne.

The king's son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was made the new deputy crown prince, according to the announcement, made on Saudi television and carried by the state-run news agency early on Wednesday.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the long-serving foreign minister, was replaced by Adel al-Jubeir, the current ambassador to the United States.

The statement said Prince Muqrin had asked to be relieved of his duties, which also include his job as deputy prime minister, while al-Faisal asked to step down for health reasons.

Saudi citizens were called on to pledge allegiance to the new crown prince and deputy crown prince, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

Salman took over as king in January after the death of his brother Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.  (dpa)

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