BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri congratulated the new Saudi crown prince and deputy crown prince appointed by King Salman Wednesday, saying the reshuffle would enhance Saudi Arabia’s stability.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz appointed his nephew, Interior Minister Mohammad bin Nayef as his new heir, and placed his young son, Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman, second in line to the throne.
Salman also replaced veteran Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who had served in the role since October 1975, with the kingdom’s Washington ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir. He is the first non-royal to hold the post.
In a statement, Hariri said that King Salman’s decision, and similar appointments of young Saudis to senior government posts, were “blessed and unprecedented initiatives that put the kingdom on the fast track to stability, provide the ingredients for solid pillars of governance and restore the glories of the early days of the kingdom.”
“It is normal for any loyal Arab to share the joy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the decisive resolutions of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, and to feel optimistic for the emergence of youthful leaders like the brave Prince Mohammad bin Nayef and the determined Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who will be at the forefront of protecting the kingdom and gear it toward a new era of progress, development and security,” the Future Movement leader said.
Hariri offered his congratulations to the new Saudi crown prince and deputy crown prince, asking God to help them shoulder their “big responsibilities in this difficult phase in the life of the Arabs and the region.”
He hailed outgoing Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as “a distinguished figure in the political and diplomatic world” and described his successor Jubeir as “a promising young man ... who devoted himself and his experience to the service of the kingdom and its leadership.”
Other Lebanese politicians congratulated the new Saudi officials as well, highlighting the depth of Saudi-Lebanese relations.
Prime Minister Tamam Salam congratulated Prince Mohammad bin Nayef and Prince Mohammad bin Salman in a cable.
The prime minister highlighted his eagerness to preserve close ties with the kingdom and promote cooperation in various fields.
He also said that the Lebanese people appreciated Saudi Arabia’s ongoing support and its eagerness to enhance the country’s security and stability.
MP Nehme Tohme, a member of Walid Jumblatt’s bloc, said Prince Mohammad bin Nayef and Prince Mohammad bin Salman were competent enough to effectively shoulder their new responsibilities.
“The crown prince and the deputy crown prince have the required qualifications and have much experience ... in issues related to the kingdom’s security, stability and prosperity,” Tohme stated.
The Chouf lawmaker also emphasized the strength of relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, saying it was manifested in the widespread condemnation of Hezbollah’s anti-Saudi rhetoric.
Over the past month, Hezbollah has launched a series of unprecedented verbal attacks on Saudi Arabia, criticizing the kingdom for leading a military coalition of Gulf states against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.