By Ahmed al-Masri
Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said on Thursday appointed his cousin, Asaad bin Tariq al-Said, as his deputy prime minister for relations and international cooperation affairs, according to a statement issued by Oman’s royal court.
According to the statement, which was broadcast on Omani state television, the decision was taken “based on the public interest”.
Sultan Qaboos also serves as Omani prime minister. Asaad al-Said, 63, is now Oman’s second deputy prime minister after Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, who serves as deputy premier for cabinet affairs.
Asaad al-Said has served as the sultan’s “special representative” since 2002 and is seen as a likely successor to 77-year-old Qaboos.
Since his return from a medical trip abroad in April of last year, the Sultan has rarely appeared in public.
Unlike his counterparts elsewhere in the