Being a close associate of all the previous kings, beginning from his father and mentor King Abdul Aziz, Salman has gained immense knowledge and expertise in politics, administration and crisis management.
He took charge as the new ruler of Saudi Arabia on Friday soon after the death of King Abdullah. The Allegiance Council and senior royal family members pledged their allegiance to Salman as the new king.
The participation of a large number of world leaders in the funeral of King Abdullah and coronation of King Salman, cutting short their busy itineraries, reflects not only Saudi Arabia’s position as an economic power but also their desire to establish stronger relations with the Kingdom, said Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers.
“We are fortunate in having King Salman as our new leader, and I am confident that the future of my country is in safe hands,” Al-Zamil told Arab News.
He said King Salman, who has met with world leaders and visited several countries during the past years, is no a stranger to world leaders. “He has gained a lot of experience in administration as a result of his close association with all the six previous kings. He supported those kings and played a key role in their success stories,” he pointed out.
During his 56-year tenure as governor of Riyadh, Al-Zamil said, the capital city witnessed tremendous progress in the industrial sector. “There are now more than 1,000 industrial plants in Riyadh. This also reflects King Salman’s support for the private sector.”
He said Salman has been acting as a bridge between different segments in the country. “The unity of the political leadership given by the royal family and the religious leadership strengthens the Kingdom’s stability.”
Al-Zamil underscored King Salman’s quick response to media reports. “He follows up developments in the Kingdom and around the world closely.”
“Prominent foreign leaders and delegations used to meet Salman when they visited the Kingdom. This reflected his important position in the royal family.”
He also praised the smooth transition. “King Salman appointed Prince Muqrin as crown prince and Prince Mohammed bin Naif as deputy crown prince without any delay.”
Al-Zamil said things would be steady under the new king and there would not be any major changes. “This is a unique royal family. All its members follow the same domestic and foreign policies, ensuring continuation of the rule and this gives a positive signal to Saudi and foreign business leaders and investors.” He said the appointment of 35-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman as defense minister and royal court chief, reflects the new king’s confidence in the young prince and his support for the youth.
Al-Zamil noted Salman’s endeavors during the past years for the uplift of youth, especially young Saudi entrepreneurs. “He provided them with every support and encouragement to achieve success in their lives.”
“King Salman took four very important decisions on the first day after ascending the throne. This shows his decision-making power.”
Al-Zamil said the private sector and businesses are happy at the smooth transition. King Salman is advised by experts including his highly educated sons, he added.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, pledged his allegiance to King Salman, Crown Prince Muqrin and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and wished that they would be able to take the Kingdom to greater heights.
“We pray to the Almighty that He would help the new leadership to uphold the trust and take care of the interest of the Ummah on the basis of the Qur’an and Sunnah,” said Al-Sudais. Sheikh Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Taleb, imam and khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, commended Prince Salman’s humanitarian endeavors in the service of orphans, the handicapped and kidney patients.
“As governor of Riyadh, he had presided over more than 50 charitable organizations. He also supported the poor to get married and set up a charitable housing project. He supports the Qur’an memorization societies. He has shown special interest in the welfare of kidney and diabetic patients.”
Speaking about King Salman’s speech on the first day, Hassan Al-Ghamdi, an academic, said it shows the road map for the future. “In that keynote speech, the king explained his domestic and foreign policies. He also emphasized that he would follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in all affairs. He called for Arab and Islamic unity, which is essential to defeat enemies of the Ummah.”
King Salman has visited a number of countries, including China, Japan, Pakistan and India, during the past two years. On April 3, 2012, he visited London and met Prime Minister David Cameron before traveling to the US on April 12 where he held talks with President Obama and other senior American officials. On June 6, 2012 he visited Madrid and met with King Juan Carlos of Spain. In May 2013 he was in Turkey in response to an invitation from former Turkish President Abdullah Gul. In February 2014, he started an Asian tour, which took him to Pakistan, Japan, India and Maldives. In March 2014, he paid an official visit to China and signed a number of agreements between the two countries.
In September 2014, he visited France as crown prince and held talks with President Francois Holland and senior French ministers to strengthen cooperation in defense, education, security, health and economic sectors. In November 2014, he led the Kingdom’s delegation to the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country to attend that summit conference.
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