Riyadh de­nies prince is con­fined to palace

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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.

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