UAE joins Arab leaders in congratulating Saudi’s new crown prince
ABU DHABI // The UAE leadership and heads of countries across the region on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Prince Mohammed, who is in his early thirties, has also been appointed the kingdom’s deputy prime minister and will retain the post of defence minister.
President Sheikh Khalifa Al Nahyan wished Prince Mohammed “success in performing his duties, supporting the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and in the continuation of development the country.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted: “I congratulate Prince Mohammed bin Salman on winning the confidence of King Salman for the post of crown prince, wishing him all success.”
“UAE will remain a brother, friend & partner to KSA in addressing region’s challenges & strengthening security & stability towards the future,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also congratulated the Saudi prince on his appointment.
“We congratulate today Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz for his new position as Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister...,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed.
Elsewhere in the GCC, Sultan Qaboos bin Said sent his congratulations from Muscat and commended King Salman for promoting his son to the position of crown prince.
The ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed, also sent a cable to Prince Mohammed, congratulating him on his new positions and wishing the Saudi people the utmost prosperity.
A former official in the Kuwaiti ministry of interior told The National that the selection of the young prince as the future Saudi king was a sign of the country investing in its growing youth bulge. Sixty per cent of the Saudi population is under the age of 25.
Prince Mohammed, who has placed curbs on the religious police and worked to increase access to entertainment in the kingdom, is popular with many young Saudis who want to see change in the conservative country.
In another appointment made by King Salman on Wednesday, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud was promoted to the position of minister of the interior. The prince, who is relatively unknown to most outside Saudi Arabia, is also in his thirties.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa also congratulated the new Saudi crown prince on his promotion. In a phone call with Prince Mohammed, King Hamad expressed full confidence in his leadership.
Unsurprisingly, no such message has yet been sent from Sheikh Tamim, emir of Qatar, as the diplomatic rift between the two countries continues.
Other Arab leaders did send their congratulations, however.
Lebanese prime minister Saad Al Hariri tweeted: “I contacted Prince Mohammed bin Salman and congratulated him for his new appointment and wished him all the best”.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, meanwhile, congratulated Prince Mohammed by telephone.
Updated: June 21, 2017 04:00 AM