By Jo Anne Bladd
Wealthiest Gulf state will not fall to Arab Spring revolts, says Crown Prince Nayef
Prince Nayef, the new heir to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah,
said on Saturday the oil-rich kingdom would remain stable despite the
turbulence afflicting the Middle East.
"Let's take the reality, we are living in such
conditions in the region where there is turbulence from all sides," he
said in his first remarks to Saudi state television since he became crown
"With [King Abdullah's] leadership and his people's
trust he can keep the kingdom stable and secure in all its affairs."
Saudi Arabia has largely escaped the unrest of the
"Arab Spring" that has forced three heads of state out of office and
is threatening at least two others, thanks to a generous spending package for
Crown Prince Nayef has already run Saudi Arabia on a daily
basis for extended periods in recent years when both King Abdullah and the late
crown prince Sultan were out of the country at the same time.
Interior Minister Prince Nayef was appointed as Saudi’s new crown prince on
Friday, signalling an orderly process of future succession in the world's
largest oil exporter.
A statement carried by state news agency SPA said Nayef, who
is in his 70s, had been appointed after King Abdullah took his choice to a
royal family body called the Allegiance Council, set up in 2006 to make the
process of succession in Saudi smoother and more orderly.
It was the first time the council had been involved in the
appointment of a new crown prince, a move that analysts had said would help to
regulate an opaque system of succession.
Crown Prince Sultan died of colon cancer in New York almost
a week ago. He was also the kingdom's defence and aviation minister for nearly
five decades. No replacements for these positions have yet been appointed.