In this Jan. 14, 2019 file photo, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman sits during a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Beit Al Baraka Royal Palace in Muscat, Oman. (File photo: AP)
Oman announced Saturday that culture minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said has been named as the new ruler of the Arabian country and the successor to longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos.
The announcement came as Omanis lined the streets of the capital, Muscat, to catch a glimpse of the motorcade carrying the body of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died hours earlier at the age of 79.
Oman state TV said authorities had opened a letter by Sultan Qaboos bin Said naming his successor, without elaborating. State TV then announced shortly after that Haitham bin Tariq Al Said is the country’s ruling sultan.
According to Oman’s succession laws, if the family council cannot agree on a successor the country’s authorities are to unseal a letter written by Sultan Qaboos containing his choice for successor.
Al Said, who was serving as the Minister of National Heritage and Culture, often played an important diplomatic role, representing Oman abroad and welcoming Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, for example, upon their arrival to the country for a visit in 2016.