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A senior Saudi official on Thursday denied as “baseless” a New York Times report that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef has been confined to his palace and barred from travelling abroad after being replaced by the king’s son as next in line to the throne.
The New York Times, citing four American officials and Saudis close to the royal family, said Mohammed bin Nayef is “barred from leaving the kingdom and confined to his palace” in Jeddah.
However, the Saudi official told Reuters that Mohammed bin Nayef was continuing to host guests and there were no restrictions on his movements. Mohammed bin Nayef was relieved of all his duties a week ago. In his place as Crown Prince, King Salman appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman who also serves as defence minister.
Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion ended two years of speculation about a behind-the-scenes rivalry near the pinnacle of royal power, but analysts said he still has to win over powerful relatives, clerics and tribesmen.
Although Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion to crown prince had long been expected, the timing was a surprise, and puts the kingdom’s future in relatively untested hands.
Former Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Nayef.