Key member of Saudi royal family calls for more reform

September 4, 2007 15:21


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In a step likely to anger Saudi Arabia's royal family, a prominent Saudi prince said he plans to form a political party in a country that bans such groups, and that he will invite jailed reformists to join it. Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz, a half-brother of King Abdullah and the father of Saudi Arabia's richest private business tycoon, also criticized, in an interview Monday with The Associated Press, what he termed an alleged monopoly on Saudi power by one faction within the Saudi royal family. He did not name members of the faction, but was apparently referring to some of the country's most powerful princes - Crown Prince Sultan, Interior Minister Prince Naif and Riyadh governor Prince Salman. Those princes, all likewise sons of the Saudi founder, King Abdul-Aziz, as are Talal and the king, are referred to as the "Sudairies" after their mother's family. Such a call for reform by someone inside the royal family is rare. Prince Talal holds no government post and is considered something of an outsider within the royal family, because of his past pushes for reform dating back decades, which forced him into exile briefly in the 1960s.

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