Saudis swear allegiance to new crown prince
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 13:40
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 monarchy.

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 family.

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.


First Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 13:40

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