Riyadh: Saudis on Sunday swore allegiance to new
Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, described by the local
press as the "man for the job" and praised in Washington for
his commitment to fight terrorism.
Nayef, who served as interior minister for nearly four
decades and led a crackdown on al-Qaeda in the kingdom, was
named in a royal decree on Thursday to succeed Prince Sultan
who died in the US last week following a long illness and was
buried in Riyadh.
In his first statement after his promotion, Crown Prince
Nayef thanked the monarch for his "trust," saying in remarks
aired Saturday on state television that he "appreciates the
responsibility" of the new post.
Nayef also praised King Abdullah for his leadership
during a troubled time in the Arab world, with protests that
have largely spared the kingdom sweeping several countries,
unseating three presidents so far.
"He has succeeded in making the kingdom peaceful and
stable... thanks to his wise leadership. Otherwise, we would
have been hit like others. But thanks to Allah, we have a good
and capable king, and a decent people," he added.
The new crown prince received his subjects in a royal
palace in Riyadh, according to state media.
The ceremony was open to all citizens, who poured in to
greet him in keeping with the tradition in the absolute
Citizens in other regions in the vast desert kingdom will
be able to pledge allegiance on Sunday to provincial
governors, all of whom are members of the Al-Saud royal
Thursday`s appointment of Prince Nayef, 78, as crown
prince, "was a source of satisfaction for all Saudis,"
Al-Watan daily said, praising him as having the qualities of a
"man of state."
He "well deserved the position given his security and
political experience," said Al-Riyadh daily of Nayef, who was
promoted from second vice prime minister to first deputy.
Nayef has also headed the ministry of interior for 36 years.