Saudi names second deputy PM
Riyadh, February 2, 2013
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has named former intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as second deputy Prime Minister, a role historically seen as making the incumbent second in line to become king.
Holders of the position have gone on in the past to be crown prince of the kingdom.
The role means Prince Muqrin will be in charge of the day-to-day running of government if both King Abdullah, who is also Prime Minister, and Crown Prince Salman, who is First Deputy Prime Minister, are both unwell or travelling abroad.
"He knows a lot about foreign affairs. I find him to be receptive to new ideas, to change. He knows which way the world is heading," said Saudi Gazette English-language daily editor-in-chief Khaled Al Maeena.
Prince Muqrin, who is about 70, is the youngest son of the kingdom's founder Abdulaziz ibn Saud, and headed Saudi intelligence until July.
"His Royal Highness Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, adviser and special envoy to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is appointed Second Deputy to the Prime Minister," said a Royal Court decree carried by the state news agency SPA.
Prince Muqrin, born in 1943, is a former air force officer who trained in Britain and later served as governor of the Hail and Madina regions.
He was made foreign intelligence chief in 2005 but was replaced last year by Riyadh's former ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Since being replaced as intelligence chief, Prince Muqrin has acted as an adviser to the king, and diplomats say he has played a role in major meetings between the monarch and visiting foreign leaders.-Reuters