Crown Prince Sultan is seen
(Photo: AN Files)
Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and
aviation, died Saturday outside the Kingdom following a prolonged
illness, the Royal Court announced. He was 80. The late prince's
funeral will take place Tuesday.
"With deep sorrow and distress, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Abdullah announces the demise of his brother Crown Prince
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who passed away early Saturday morning,"
Arab News quoted the Saudi Royal Court as saying in a released
The Royal Court said the funeral prayer for Prince Sultan, who was
known as Sultan Al-Khair (goodness), would be held at Imam Turki
bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh Tuesday after the Asr prayer.
Prominent world leaders and Arab heads of state are expected to
attend the ceremony.
Prince Sultan, a half brother of King Abdullah, served as the
Kingdom's defense minister for nearly five decades. A humanitarian
prince, Sultan was a great Muslim leader and worked for the
success of Arab and Muslim causes. He represented Saudi Arabia at
UN General Assembly meetings and Arab and Islamic summits several
Sultan had been in the United States since mid-June for medical
treatment. Before that he had spent about a year in the US and
Morocco for treatment and returned to the Kingdom on Nov. 11, 2009
to a rapturous welcome.
Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, is
second in line to become the crown prince. Prince Naif,
half-brother of King Abdullah, was named second deputy premier in
King Faisal assigned Sultan the defense portfolio in 1962 and in
1982, his brother King Fahd appointed him second deputy premier.
Sultan was educated in the Royal Court and was clearly on the rise
when named governor of Riyadh in 1947. He had also served as
minister of agriculture and transport.
As defense and aviation minister, and inspector general, Sultan
oversaw a major buildup of the Kingdom's armed forces and took
Saudi Arabian Airlines to greater heights. He presided over a
major military operation to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi
occupation in 1991 with the support of US-led allied forces.