New Saudi king announces major government shake-up

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Riyadh, Jan 30: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has named a new intelligence chief, replaced part of his cabinet and fired two sons of the late king Abdullah in a major government shake-up seen as further entrenching the new monarch's power.

"Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud issued a royal order yesterday, relieving Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Chief of General Intelligence, of his post," the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Salman

The announcement came a week after Salman acceded to the throne, following the death of Abdullah, aged about 90. A separate decree said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of Abdullah, was removed from his posts as Secretary General of the National Security Council and adviser to the king.

Two sons of the late monarch were also fired: Prince Mishaal, the governor of Mecca region, and Prince Turki, who governed the capital Riyadh, according to the decrees broadcast on Saudi television. Another of Abdullah's sons, Prince Miteb, retained his position as minister in charge of the National Guard, a parallel army of around 200,000 men.

Salman, 79, a half-brother of Abdullah, also named a 31-member cabinet whose new members included the ministers for culture and information, social affairs, civil service, and communications and information technology, among others. Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf kept their posts in the cabinet of the world's leading oil exporter.

AFP

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