Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has delivered an annual televised speech, which is normally given by the kingdom’s monarch, who is currently hospitalized and battling against pneumonia.
During the brief speech addressed to the consultative Shura Council and broadcast live on Tuesday, Salman touched upon a number of issues, among them the country’s security challenges and plummeting oil prices.
“Today, as you know, your country is facing unprecedented regional challenges,” he said, adding that Riyadh is exercising vigilance and caution in light of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East region.
The 79-year-old crown prince asserted that the Saudi government would meet public’s best interests in the face of falling oil prices in international markets.
King Abdullah, 90, was admitted to the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh on December 31, 2014, for medical checks. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia.
The Saudi king had two operations in October 2011 and November 2012 because of “ligament slackening” in the upper back.
Poor health, old age as well as the death of the king’s half-brothers have raised concerns about the future of the oil-rich country amid anti-government demonstrations.
Abdullah’s half brother, Salman, is next in line to the throne. He was named Saudi crown prince in June 2012 after the death of Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz.
Salman has recently represented King Abdullah in most public events because of the monarch’s ailing health.