Riyadh denies prince is confined to palace
DUBAI: A senior Saudi official yesterday 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 official said Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran interior minister, was continuing to host guests and there were no restrictions at all on his or his family’s movements.
Mohammed bin Nayef, who was admired in Washington for quashing an al-Qaeda insurgency in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, 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 and leads an ambitious reform agenda to end Saudi Arabia’s over-reliance on oil.
Mohammed bin Salman’s promotion ended two years of speculation about a behind-the-scenes rivalry near the pinnacle of royal power.
The New York Times said Mohammed bin Nayef had been “barred from leaving the kingdom and confined to his palace” in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.