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Saudi Arabia's crown prince named prime minister: decree
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a session of the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 20, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz named his son and heir Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom's prime minister and his second son Prince Khalid as defense minister, a royal decree said on Tuesday (Sep 27).

The reshuffle kept another son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as energy minister, the royal decree, carried by state news agency SPA, said.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih remained unchanged, the decree showed.

The crown prince, known as MbS, had been the defense minister and has been the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a major U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, MbS's younger brother, previously served as deputy defense minister.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia - Photo. Facebook page

King Salman will still preside the cabinet meetings that he attends, the decree said.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince receive Bahraini King in Jeddah

The 86-year-old king, the custodian of Islam's holiest sites, became ruler in 2015 after spending more than 2-1/2 years as the crown prince. He has been hospitalised several times over the last two years.

Prince Mohammed has changed Saudi Arabia radically since he rose to power in 2017 as he led efforts to diversify the economy from dependence on oil, allowed women to drive and curbed the clerics' power over society.

Source: anews