RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 29 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia's King Salman rearranged the line of succession to the throne and replaced several heads of ministries in a televised decree Wednesday in Riyadh.
Salman replaced King Abdullah, who died in January, and the moves suggest he is shifting away from Abdullah's legacy. He elevated Muhammad Bin Nayef to crown prince, replacing after Prince Muqrin, the king's brother, requested to step down, the royal court announced. Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, current defense minister and the king's son, was named deputy crown prince, and thus is second in line to the throne; he replaces Prince Saud al-Faisal as foreign minister.
Little is known about Muhammad Bin Nayef. The grandson of King Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's founder, he is believed to be in his 30s and is respected within the royal family for his crackdown, within the country, on al-Qaida. He has also been involved in the country's foreign affairs.
The moves are not expected to change Saudi Arabia's involvement as leader of an Arab bloc recently engaged in aerial bombardment of rebel targets in Yemen.
Prince Saud al-Faisal's departure can be seen as a transition to younger leadership; he has served as Saudi Arabia's foreign minister for nearly 40 years.