Middle East

Oman names Sultan Qaboos’ cousin Haitham as new ruler

Oman has named Haitham bin Tariq al-Said as the country’s new ruler after the death of his cousin Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said.

In posts on their Twitter accounts on Saturday, Omani newspapers Al Watan and Al Roya said Minister of Heritage and Culture Haitham bin Tariq was taking the oath of allegiance as sultan.

The Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster also reported that Haitham succeeded Qaboos.

Sultan Qaboos, the Arab world’s longest-serving ruler, died Friday aged 79.

“With great sorrow and deep sadness… the royal court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who passed away on Friday,” said a statement from the royal court.

Muscat announced three days of national mourning after the Sultan’s death.

Sultan Qaboos was unmarried, had no children and had not appointed a successor.

The Omani Constitution requires the royal family to choose a new sultan within three days of the throne falling vacant. Should that fail, a letter written by Sultan Qaboos will be opened before military and government officials revealing his choice for a successor.

Sultan Qaboos had been ill for some time and was believed to have been suffering from colon cancer.

Last month, he returned home after undergoing medical checks and treatment in Belgium.

The sultan rose to power in the former British protectorate in a 1970 coup that was assisted by London.

-Oman

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