Saudi prince loses ministerial role

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King Abdullah has removed veteran deputy defence minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan from his post, state media reported yesterday.

It was the latest move in a reshuffle among princes holding government jobs in the kingdom.

Switches in important posts between princes are closely watched because they indicate possible changes in the line of succession in the monarchy, the dominant power among Gulf Arab states.

Prince Khaled was head of the Saudi armed forces during the 1991 Gulf War but was passed over for the job of defence minister in 2011 after the death of his father, Crown Prince Sultan, who had held the position for five decades.

He has been replaced as deputy defence minister by Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdulrahman.