Funeral Held For Saudi Crown Prince

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 11:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Saudi leaders have held the funeral for the late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, setting the stage for the kingdom to name a new heir to the throne.

World leaders and other mourners packed a mosque in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Crown Prince Sultan. He died in New York, on Saturday, from an undisclosed illness.

Saudi officials have not announced a successor, but observers widely believe Prince Nayaf, the interior minister, will be named the heir.

He is said to have closer ties to the kingdom's powerful, puritanical clerics than King Abdullah, who has instituted reforms that include allowing women to take part in future elections.

The crown prince had been undergoing treatment in New York for recurring medical problems. His body was flown back to Riyadh on Monday.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was among the dignitaries who attended his funeral. Jordan's King Abdullah, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and Egyptian Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi also attended.

Crown Prince Sultan was one of Saudi Arabia's most powerful figures, serving also as the defense minister and deputy prime minister.