Saudi Crown Prince Dies

Posted October 22nd, 2011 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, who died Saturday, was the kingdom's defense minister, a post he had held for nearly 50 years.

He was one of the sons of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz.

Prince Sultan was one of a group of princes groomed for high office, receiving his early education at the royal court.

A Saudi embassy statement says Crown Prince Sultan assisted his father in the establishment of the kingdom's administrative system based on the implementation of sharia law.

Other posts Prince Sultan held include agriculture minister, communications minister, chairman of the board of the kingdom's national airline, and chairman of the Saudi Arabian Railways Organization.

The crown prince supervised the construction of the only railway system on the Arabian Peninsula, connecting Dammam with Riyadh.

Prince Sultan spent hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize Saudi Arabia's armed forces.

He was in his 80's and had been ill for years. Hewas reported to have reduced his work load to just a few hours a day.

Crown Prince Sultan was heir to the throne of his ailing older brother, King Abdullah. In late 2010, Prince Sultan governed the kingdom while the king underwent surgery in New York.

Crown Prince Sultan is reported to have had more than 30 children with multiple wives.