Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the newly appointed second deputy premier, pledged here Tuesday night to “work closely with the people” and called on government officials to commit themselves to the country’s development needs.
He underlined the need to “expound and develop social programs and strengthen the policy of proximity with citizens” within the context of a wider push for reform sought by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Prince Muqrin said that the new programs, to be introduced by government agencies, “would benefit citizens mainly in the areas of healthcare, education, housing and employment.”
He was speaking shortly after meeting princes, Islamic scholars, Shoura Council members, senior military and civilian officials and about 1,000 citizens. They visited the Royal Court to pledge their allegiance to him.
Minister of Education Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, Asir Governor Prince Faisal bin Khalid and Alauddin Alaskary, deputy foreign minister for protocol affairs, were the first to greet the prince. Many ambassadors, foreign diplomats and Saudi businessmen met with Prince Muqrin and wished him good luck. “The foreign diplomats posted in Riyadh were very well represented at the ceremony,” said Alaskary.
Alaskary said the envoys heading the respective foreign missions in Riyadh were invited by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.
Prince Muqrin pledged his commitment to serve the people and nation. “Unity and commitment can generate development in our country,” he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya before the ceremony.
He called on leaders and government officials to work closely with the people to help them overcome obstacles in their lives. “King Abdullah has advised us to look after citizens … to the extent that he has sometimes been tough on ministers when urging them to resolve the problems of citizens,” said Prince Muqrin.
The Kingdom has taken major steps toward reform and development by paving the way for women to participate in the Shoura Council, he said.
He added that the Kingdom has also established a national anti-corruption body, developed the judiciary and allocated significant resources to the education and health sectors. Prince Muqrin said the Kingdom has used technology to make major strides in education and public administration, to reduce red tape and cut down on the time to process paperwork.
“The Kingdom has sought to improve skills and computer literacy and aim to become a regional hub of knowledge-based industries,” he added.
He expressed concern about events in the region. “What is taking place in countries around us does not please anyone. What is happening in Syria is not in the interests of Syria, its people or anyone else for that matter in the region,” said the prince. He also questioned the logic behind the recent turmoil in Egypt and the behavior of political parties benefiting from the crisis.
On his appointment as second deputy premier, he said: “I deem it a great honor that I have been selected by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to be the country’s second deputy premier and I will do my best to uphold this royal trust.”
“We should always renew and assess our efforts in the service of our religion, king, homeland and people.”
Referring to his meeting with Prince Muqrin, German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller, said: “I congratulated Prince Muqrin on his appointment and wished him more prosperity in his endeavors to serve the nation.”
Haller said that the prince’s long history and expertise, which includes serving as governor of Hail and Madinah provinces, and working as head of intelligence and special adviser to the king, qualifies him for the new position.
Haller said that a number of diplomats including ambassadors of Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Bahrain and many other countries were received by Prince Muqrin.
Pakistani Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan; French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot; Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao; and Austrian Ambassador Gregor W. Koessler were also received by the prince.
Nepali Ambassador Udaya Raj Pandey said “a huge crowd” of Saudi officials, businessmen and foreign diplomats met the new second deputy premier. He said Prince Muqrin was well known for his leadership and humanitarian qualities.
Saeed Al-Ghamdi, a businessman, said: “His vision, managerial skills and contribution to education and scholarship programs, in addition to his keenness to constantly meet the people and know their problems first-hand, are rare qualities.”

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