World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia's new King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Friday vowed to uphold the policies of his predecessors.
"We will…carry on with the rightful path set forth by King Abdulaziz Al Saud," Salman said in his first televised speech as the new king, referring to the first monarch of Saudi Arabia who founded the Saudi state in 1932.
Salman, who had been the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, became the new monarch following the death of King – and older half-brother - Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in the early hours of Friday.
"We will continue to adopt [policies] which aim at achieving Arab unity and defending the nation's causes using the teachings of Islam," King Salman said.
In a statement carried by the Saudi TV in the early hours of Friday, the Royal Court announced the death of King Abdullah and declared Salman the new monarch of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter.
The Royal Court also named Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as new crown prince.
Abdullah was recently admitted to hospital and placed on a ventilator after he was diagnosed with pneumonitis.
Abdullah underwent back surgery in November 2012. Ever since, he has refrained from attending events outside the kingdom, including a recent high-profile Gulf summit held in Qatari capital Doha.
Salman, 79, is a half-brother of the deceased king. He was appointed crown prince in June of 2012 after the death of the late crown prince, Naif.
Muqrin is also a half-brother of Abdullah and the youngest son of the founder of Saudi Arabia. He was serving as second deputy prime minister and the king's special envoy.