RIYADH: Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, on Saturday commended the important role played by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in steering Saudi Arabia to greater progress, prosperity and stability at a time when the whole region is going through crises and political disturbances.
“We thank God, we have a pious, understanding and capable king and we have a faithful and trustworthy people,” Prince Naif said while receiving royal family members, the grand mufti, ministers, senior Islamic scholars, and civilian, military and security officers who came to pledge their allegiance at his palace.
Prince Naif thanked King Abdullah for his confidence in him, adding that he considered the position of crown prince as a big responsibility. “I pray to the Almighty to help me carry out my duties in the best manner and give me the power to take right decisions,” he said, while praising the unity and cohesion between the Saudi people and their leadership.
The crown prince also paid tribute to Prince Sultan, who died on Oct. 22, and commended his contributions toward the Kingdom’s development. “We have learned a lot from Prince Sultan’s life and dealings and we’ll follow his methodology under the leadership of King Abdullah and his directives,” he added.
Prince Naif said he had got an opportunity to work with all the Saudi kings beginning from his father King Abdul Aziz. “King Abdullah has taught us how to serve the nation and how to dedicate our lives in the service of the Ummah. We have passed through difficult situations when the king was not worried about anything except the safety of citizens and the Kingdom … Despite the disturbances surrounding us, he was able to make the Kingdom a stable and secure country as a result of his strong leadership. This is a great blessing from God,” the prince said.
Many of those who came to swear their allegiance to the crown prince waited their turn in the crowd to greet him and shake his hand.
On arrival at the venue, Prince Naif was received by Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman, and Vice Gov. Prince Sattan. First among the high-profile people to reach the Riyadh governorate were Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz Khoja and Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf. Prince Saud bin Naif, assistant interior minister for public affairs, and Prince Mohammed bin Naif, assistant interior minister for security affairs; along with several other princes and officials accompanied Crown Prince Naif.
Congratulatory messages and greetings poured in from foreign dignitaries including diplomats and foreign officials. The new crown prince received Saudi citizens at the governorate, where a huge crowd of ordinary citizens were seen rubbing shoulders with the royalty and high-ranking officials. The ceremony was open to all citizens who made a beeline for the event, in keeping with tradition. Citizens from other regions in the Kingdom will be able to pledge allegiance on Sunday to provincial governors.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, secretary general of Shoura Council, also congratulated Prince Naif. He lauded the efforts of Prince Naif in ensuring internal security in the Kingdom.
“In line with the fifth article of the basic rule system, members of the royal family as well as Saudi citizens are required to pledge allegiance to Crown Prince Naif,” said an informed source, adding that prominent Islamic scholars of Saudi Arabia including Grand Mufti Al-Asheikh and Saleh Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), have called on Saudi citizens to pledge allegiance.
Congratulating Crown Prince Naif on his appointment, the grand mufti expressed happiness and said: “Allah will help us and will give strength to our leaders to run the affairs of the nation successfully.”
Al-Wohaibi said: “Prince Naif has always supported charities and Islamic workers locally as well as globally.” The WAMY chief also said that the citizens hoped that Crown Prince Naif will help to create jobs for thousands of university graduates and begin weaning the Saudi economy off its total dependence on oil.
He called on the prince to attend to the needs of Saudi youth and to ensure more employment opportunities for young people in the country. Al-Wohaibi said he was “praying to Allah to give him more strength, vision and spiritual support to enable him to do more for his people and for the Muslim Ummah worldwide.”
Diplomats in Riyadh congratulated the crown prince and said they expect him to strengthen the Kingdom’s ties with other countries, especially its allies.
In a message emailed to Arab News on Saturday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “Your appointment as the crown prince is a clear testimony to the trust and confidence that the people of Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah repose in your leadership.” Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed strong ties for decades, and Bangladesh attaches great importance to its fraternal bonds with Saudi Arabia, said Hasina.
“I firmly believe that the existing excellent relations would be further strengthened and consolidated in the coming days and will take new heights under your able leadership, wisdom and sagacity,” said the Bangladesh premier, wishing Crown Prince Naif good health and happiness.
Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman also congratulated the crown prince in a separate message sent to Arab News.
In another congratulatory note, Ambassador Luigi Narbone, head of the European Union delegation in Riyadh, said: “It is my great honor to congratulate Prince Naif on his appointment as crown prince and deputy prime minister. Crown Prince Naif is widely known and respected for his significant contribution to development and stability of the Kingdom. The EU is looking forward to working with Crown Prince Naif in his new capacity and to further strengthening the ties between the EU and Saudi Arabia,” he added.
“Crown Prince Naif has been helping one and all and this is the reward of this helpful attitude from God”, said an octogenarian Saudi citizen, who was waiting to swear his allegiance in the capital.
“The most visible of these challenges is terrorism linked to Al-Qaeda, which has been crushed by Crown Prince Naif,” said a Western diplomat. “Thursday’s appointment of Crown Prince Naif was a source of satisfaction for all Saudis,” said Hassan Al-Qahtani, a senior Saudi citizen, who came to the governorate to greet the prince.
Crown Prince Naif “well deserved the position given his security and political experience and given his leadership skills and his stature in the Arab world,” said Abdulrahman A. Fahd, another Saudi citizen who runs his own business in the city’s Al-Rabwa district.