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King Salman replaced Crown Prince Moqren with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

29 April, 2015

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DUBAI: Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday dismissed the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud, and replaced him with his nephew, the Interior Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

“We have decided to respond to his highness and what he had expressed about his desire to be relieved from the position of crown prince,” said a statement from the royal court, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. It added that Moqren was also relieved of his position as deputy prime minister.

The decree named “Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince” as well as deputy prime minister and said he will continue to hold his position of interior minister and head of the political and security council, a coordinating body.

The dismissal of Moqren removes the last-remaining high-level official remaining from the era of King Abdullah, who died on January 23 and was replaced by Salman, 79.

Moqren, 69, would have been the last son of the kingdom's founder, Abdul Aziz bin Saud, to rule. His dismissal leaves bin Nayef as the first of the second generation, or grandsons of Abdul Aziz, in line to lead the world's largest oil exporter.

The appointment of bin Nayef further solidifies control of Salman's Sudayri branch of the royal family. Their influence had waned under Abdullah. He also appointed his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as deputy crown prince.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the kingdom's defence minister, oversaw nearly a month of air strikes by a Saudi-led regional coalition against the Yemeni rebels. The king also replaced veteran foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal with the kingdom's Washington ambassador Adel al-Jubeir.

Faisal “asked to be relieved from his duties due to his health conditions," said the royal decree published on the official Saudi Press Agency, adding that he was appointed as an advisor and a special envoy of King Salman.

King Salman appointed Khalid al-Falih as the country's health minister and chairman of Saudi Aramco, state television said. Falih was the chief executive of state oil giant Saudi Aramco. A replacement for him as head of the company was not immediately named.

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