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Saudi King orders Cabinet reshuffle, amendments for state bodies

Roundup RIYADH, Jan 29 (KUNA) -- In his first decision amid a new role, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud ordered a cabinet reshuffle and an amendment to the operation of several state bodies on Thursday.
According to the state news agency, SPA, several key ministers will retain their positions namely, Prince Saud Al-Faisal (Foreign Affairs), Prince Mohammad bin Salman (Defence), Mohammad bin Nayef (Interior), Prince Metaab bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (National Guard), Ibrahim Al-Assaf (Finance) and Ali Al-Naimi (Petroleum and Mineral Resources).
On the other hand, the newly-appointed ministers include Khaled Al-Araj (Social Security), Adel Al-Toraifi (Minister of Culture and Information), Ahmad al-Khatib (Health), Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi (Social Affairs), Dr. Walid Al-Samani (Justice) and Sheikh Saleh Al Al-Sheikh (Islamic Affairs).
The royal decree also sees the two ministries of education and higher education uniting under one banner to form the Ministry of Education.
Some 11 state bodies have been discarded, namely the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Minerals Affairs, Supreme Council for Education Policy, Supreme Authority for the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Civil Service Council, Supreme Authority for Administrative Regulation.
The National Security Council, Supreme Council for the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Supreme Council for Disabled Affairs, Council of Higher Education and Universities and the Higher Economic Council.
Two councils, which will be directly linked in their role with the Cabinet and will replace others, include the Committee for Political and Security Affairs and the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
Governors who have been relieved of their duties are Prince Faisal bin Bandar (Governor of Al-Qaseem Province) who instead will govern Riyadh Province, and Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (Governor of Riyadh Province).
Appointed governors are Prince Khaled bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Makkah Province and Advisor to the King and Prince Faisal bin Meshaal bin Saud, Governor of Al-Qaseem Province.
Other officials to be relieved are Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was Secretary General of the National Security Council and Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, who was President of General Intelligence.
Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, instead, will assume the role of Advisor to the King, along with Prince Meshaal bin Abdullah bin Musaed.
Others royal advisors include Hazem Mustafa as Director of Private Affairs, while Royal Court Advisor positions were handed to each of Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Samari, Sheikh Saad bin Naser Al-Shathri, Dr. Mohammad Al-Helwa, Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Muhaisen and Fahad bin Abdullah Tunisi.
Also, Prince Mansour bin Muqrin has been appointed Advisor to the Crown Prince's Court and Khaled bin Saleh Al-Abbad, Deputy Head of Royal Ceremonies.
Other appointments include Mohammad Al-Ajjaji as Head of the Cabinet's Experts Authority, Dr. Yahya Al-Samaan as Deputy Speaker of the Shura Council, Abdulaziz Al-Hawas as Secretary to the Crown Prince and Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz as Deputy Minister of Petroleum.
Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad as Head of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and Khaled Al-Muhaisin who replaces Mohammad Al-Sharif as head of the national anti-corruption authority.
Abdulrahman Al-Haseen as Head of the Audit and Investigation Authority, Mohammad Al-Jadaan as Head of the Financial Market Authority, Sulaiman Al-Hamdan who replaces Prince Fahad bin Abdullah as Head of the Head of the Civil Aviation Authority, and Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sanad who replaces Dr. Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh as Head of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice authority.
Nabil Al-Amoudi will replace Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri as Head of the General Ports Authority, while Ibrahim Al-Sultan will be appointed Secretary of the Riyadh Province, with Dr. Mohammad Al-Essa relieved of his role as member of the Council of Senior Scholars.
The decision will also hand out two months-worth of allowances to state employees, college students and retirees.
Also included are amendments to social security allowances, while two billion Saudi riyals were handed out to trade unions, 10 million riyals to literary clubs, 10 million riyals to sports clubs and another 20 billion riyals to for plans regarding electricity and water services.
It also offered amnesty to prisoners - those of whom are non-Saudi to be deported - with criminal penalties worth under 500,000 riyals dropped. (end) kt.sd