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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

New Saudi King Salman promises to continue Abdullah’s policies

Saudi Arabia’s new king promised Friday to continue the policies of his predecessors in a national televised speech.
King Salman gives his first public address on Saudi television. EPA

RIYADH // Saudi Arabia’s new king moved swiftly Friday to name the country’s interior minister as deputy crown prince, making him the second-in-line to the throne, as he promised to continue the policies of his predecessors in a nationally televised speech.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s comments come as the kingdom began mourning King Abdullah, who died early Friday after nearly two decades in power.

The royal decree puts Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in line to ascend to the throne after his designated successor, Crown Prince Muqrin. Prince Mohammed is the son of late King Abdullah’s half brother Nayef who died in 2012.

“We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” King Salman said in the speech aired on the state-run Saudi 2 television station.

The king also made an oblique reference to the chaos gripping the greater Middle East as ISIL now holds a third of both Iraq and Syria.

“The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need for solidarity and cohesion,” the king said.

Salman, 79, had increasingly taken on the duties of the king over the past year as his ailing predecessor and half brother, Abdullah, became more incapacitated.

Salman had served as defence minister since 2011. That made him the head of the military as Saudi Arabia joined the United States and other Arab countries in carrying out airstrikes in Syria in 2014 against the ISIL that the kingdom began to see as a threat to its own stability.

* Associated Press