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Saudi king’s brother given key slot

AFP-JIJI

King Abdullah appointed one of his brothers, Moqren bin Abdul Aziz, as deputy prime minister, on Friday, making him second in line to the throne, the official SPA news agency said.

“Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz, adviser and special envoy of the king, has been named second vice president of the Council of Ministers,” the SPA report said.

The king, 89, is the president of the council, and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, 77, is the first vice president.

In the event of the king’s death, the 68-year-old Moqren could become crown prince.

Like Prince Salman, Moqren is a son of Abdul Aziz bin Saud, who founded Saudi Arabia.

He has served as an adviser and special envoy of Abdullah since July, previously serving as the head of Saudi intelligence.

The monarch’s age and frequent hospitalizations have raised concerns about the future leadership of the kingdom.

The post of deputy prime minister had been vacant since Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, a half-brother of the king, became crown prince in October 2011 following the death of Prince Sultan and then died himself last June.