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Tue 13 Nov 2018 08:09 PM

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Saudi's King Salman to resume domestic tour next week

82-year-old monarch is set to visit the northern regions of the kingdom and inaugurate development projects

Saudi's King Salman to resume domestic tour next week
The king is now set to visit the northern regions of the kingdom next week.

Saudi King Salman will resume an unprecedented domestic tour next week, the royal court said Tuesday.

The 82-year-old monarch visited central Qassim province and the neighbouring region of Hail last week in what observers call a "listening tour", his first since ascending to the most powerful throne in the Middle East in 2015.

The king is now set to visit the "northern regions of the kingdom" next week to "inspect the condition of citizens and inaugurate a number of development projects", the official Saudi Press Agency said citing the royal court.

It added that the industrial city of Waad al-Shamal would be among the stops to inaugurate "mining and industrial projects".

The king, who was accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his tour last week, appears to be on a drive to shore up support domestically, including within the royal family, as Saudi Arabia faces international criticism over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

King Salman has pardoned some "insolvent prisoners" and last month ordered the resumption of annual bonus payments to all government workers from the beginning of next year. The bonuses had been suspended under austerity measures in 2016 amid low oil prices.

It was unclear whether the crown prince will accompany the king next week.