News24

Saudi crown prince buried in Mecca

2012-06-17 22:22

Riyadh - Saudi Arabia on Sunday buried its heir apparent Naif bin Abdul Aziz following a funeral attended by mourning presidents and premiers from several countries.

Naif's body, shrouded in an open coffin, was carried into the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, where a special funeral prayer was held.

His body was later buried in a tomb in Mecca, in the west of Saudi Arabia.

State television showed Saudi King Abdullah receiving condolences from senior foreign leaders and officials.

They included Kuwait's Emir Sabah al-Ahamed, Egypt's military ruler Hussein Tantawi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Other mourners included the prime ministers of Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan.

Naif had died on Saturday in Geneva where he was having "scheduled medical tests", according to local media. The cause of his death was not officially announced. He was 78.

An interior minister since 1975, Naif was appointed the oil-rich country's crown prince in October after the death of his brother, Sultan.

Earlier this year, he went to the United States to undergo what the royal court also called scheduled medical tests.

With no clear rules stipulated in the Saudi constitution about a succession, King Abdullah in 2007 set up a royal council called the Allegiance Authority to choose the country's monarch and crown prince.

The 34-member council is composed of members from the royal family, and the descendants of Abdul Aziz al-Saud who founded the kingdom in 1932.

There was no official announcement on when the council would meet.

Saudi Defence Minister Salman, Naif's 76-year-old brother, is a favourite to be the next-in-line to the throne.