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Saudi FM rejects ‘ridiculous’ allegations of royals’ plot to depose bin Salman

In this May 13, 2015 photo, then Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and then Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir arrive at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Getty Images)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has dismissed as “ridiculous” a report by Reuters that members of the Saudi royal family want to overthrow Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying that the kingdom is united around its leadership.

Reuters on Monday reported that some members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family are agitating to prevent bin Salman from becoming king.

Asked by CNBC about the report, Jubeir said on Wednesday, “These are outrageous comments that are being made and are totally unacceptable.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is unified on this issue, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to its leadership, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to the vision that our leaders have put forth for us in terms of Vision 2030 and in terms of moving along the path of reform,” Jubeir said.

Reuters had quoted three sources close to the royal court as saying that dozens of princes and cousins from powerful branches of the Al Saud family want to see a change in the line of succession but would not act while King Salman is still alive.

The sources said the princes recognize that the king is unlikely to turn against his favorite son. Rather, they are discussing the possibility with other family members that after the king's death, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, 76, a younger full brother of King Salman and uncle of the crown prince, could take the throne.

The alleged plot to overthrow bin Salman came against the backdrop of reports that the young crown prince had ordered the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

“We have made it very clear that Saudi Arabia’s government is not involved in this (Khashoggi’s murder) and the crown prince is not involved in this, at all,” Jubeir told CNBC on Wednesday.

Earlier on Monday, King Salman had also thrown his weight behind his son in his first public remarks since the killing of Khashoggi.

The king also praised bin Salman's ambitious economic reform program, whose fate is not clear anymore amid allegations of the crown prince’s direct role in the assassination.

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