King Mohammed VI Congratulates Mohammed Bin Salman on Appointment as Crown Prince

Prince Mohammed's rise comes at a crucial time for Saudi Arabia which is in a battle for regional influence with arch-rival Iran, bogged down in a controversial military intervention in neighbouring Yemen and at loggerheads with fellow US Gulf ally Qatar.

Until now, the succession favoured Saudi Arabia's interior minister and security chief, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who has now been stripped of much of his power. The prince, who will remain the defense minister, has also been appointed as deputy prime minister.

If Mohammed bin Salman becomes king in his 30s, he would be the youngest monarch of the modern state. As well as diversifying the economy, the plans include pushing for women to have a bigger economic role and the partial privatization of state oil firm Saudi Aramco - reforms that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Analysts and diplomats say he was the prime mover in the kingdom's decision to go to war in Yemen, and more recently, to lead the campaign against Qatar. The young Saudi Crown Prince also soared to the worldwide front linking up the country with the rest of the world, including the United States that he visited many times. He retains defence, oil and other portfolios. "Donald Trump visited Riyadh on his first overseas trip as president and has since visibly tilted in Saudi Arabia's direction in policy toward the rest of the region, most notably in his animosity toward Iran".

The decision by King Salman to promote his son and consolidate his power was endorsed by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, the decree said. And it's only the second time since the kingdom was founded in 1932 that a grandson of Ibn Saud has been named crown prince, and its potential future king. The two countries support opposite sides in the conflicts in both Syria and Yemen, reported Reuters.

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"We must hand in hand. behind our leadership which we pray to God for it to be a wise one", Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said, opening the pledging ceremony.

That the royal succession in the world's top oil exporter is closely scrutinized only makes the rapidity of MbS's rise to power, and the speed with which his better known cousins were brushed aside, more astonishing.

Qatar's stock market is down 5.2 percent since the start of the week.

Tillerson's comments came in a short statement a day after the State Department bluntly questioned the motives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in announcing their boycott of Qatar on June 5, saying it was "mystified" the Gulf states had not released their grievances.

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