Saudi Prince Salman named defense minister

November 5, 2011 18:44

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia's Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was named the kingdom's new defense minister in a royal decree read on state television on Saturday following the death last month of his elder brother who had held the position for five decades.

Prince Salman, governor of Riyadh Province for nearly 50 years, now controls the top-spending ministry in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has one of the best-equipped militaries in the Middle East and has used its arms purchases to bolster ties with Western allies such as the United States, Britain and France.

Prince Salman is seen as the third most senior member of the ruling al-Saud family after his elder half brother King Abdullah and his elder full brother Crown Prince Nayef, who is also interior minister.

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