Replying to a cable by the crown prince, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques pledges he would spare no effort to make things easier for Muslims to perform their rituals

Defense Minister Prince Salman: I will do whatever I can to defend the holiest lands

Prince Salman pays visits to Saudi army units

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a reply cable to Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Interior and Chairman of Hajj Supreme Committee, thanking the Crown Prince, members of Hajj Supreme Committee and the personnel of military and security sectors for their great efforts which resulted in the success of Hajj season of this year.

Earlier, the Crown Prince sent a cable to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha and the success of Hajj season.

King Abdullah also expressed his thanks to the Minister of Hajj, Dr. Fuad bin Abdulsalam Al-Farsi and the employees of the Ministry of Hajj, for their congratulations on the success of this year's Hajj season.

In a reply cable, the King said, 'We thank Allah Almighty for bestowing on us the service of pilgrims, also praying for crowning all with success in continuing provision of the best services to pilgrims to perform their rituals easily and comfortably.'

Meanwhile, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Defense, received in his office at the Ministry of Defense, in the presence of Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense, senior commanders and officers of the Armed Forces led by Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Qabil and the commanders of the branches of the armed forces who came to greet and congratulate him on the royal trust in appointing him in his new post.

They also extended congratulations to him on Eid Al-Adha. A speech ceremony was held on this occasion.

The Chief of the General Staff delivered a speech in which he expressed condolences on the death of the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, praising his efforts to bring about the advancement of the Saudi armed forces.

Gen. Al-Qabil hailed the appointment of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, the brother of the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, as minister of defense, saying that Prince Salman is the best successor to the best predecessor.

The Chief of the General Staff also hailed efforts by Prince Salman to advance the city of Riyadh during his works as the governor of Riyadh region.

The Chief of the General Staff said Prince Salman, as Minister of Defense, will be assisted by the son of the late Prince Sultan - Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Deputy Minister of Defense.

Gen. Al-Qabil pledged full support for and loyalty to Prince Salman and Prince Khalid Bin Sultan to accomplish the tasks of the Armed Forces efficiently and effectively.

The Chief of the General Staff said, 'Today, the Armed Forces is closely following the successive developments in the Middle East and is fully aware of and understand the risks surrounding our country and which may pose a threat to its national security. God willing, and with the support of our government and guidance of your highness, they will be able to address those risks with all strength and determination.'

He added that the surrounding circumstances require boosting efforts and determination so that the Saudi armed forces, the shield of this country, be in the highest degree of combat readiness.

The Chief of the General Staff said that this readiness requires speed in meeting the requirements of the Armed Forces as previously submitted to the King and according to the strategic plan to rebuild and modernize the Armed Forces for the coming years explaining that the plan was prepared at the direction of the Deputy Minister of Defense, and that it will be presented to Prince Salman later.

Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz made a statement in which he greeted the audience and highly praised efforts exerted by the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz for the Saudi Armed Forces and the country.

Prince Salman thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz for the confidence bestowed in him, pledging to strive to build the armed forces and achieve the ultimate goal, namely the defense of the country.

Prince Salman hailed the success of this year's Hajj and congratulated the Saudi leadership on this achievement and on Eid Al-Adha.

In conclusion, he thanked all and extended congratulations to all on Eid Al-Adha.

The ceremony was attended by Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Prince Salman had started on November 12 his works at the Ministry of Defense, after the issuance of a royal decree on his appointment as the Minister of Defense.

Upon arrival at the Ministry, he was received by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense; Chief of General Staff, General Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Qabil; and a number of high-ranking officers and officials.

Prince Salman paid a visit to the Presidency of the General Staff at the Ministry of Defense.

Upon arrival, he was received by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of General Staff, General Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Qabil.

In a meeting with commanders of various branches of the Armed Forces, Prince Salman said that he has a great honor to assume the post of Defense Minister by a royal decree issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and he is proud of this royal confidence, adding that it is a heavy responsibility and he will follow the steps and approach of the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz (May Allah bless his soul) in the service of the religion and the homeland.

Prince Salman was accompanied by Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, and the Director General of the Defense Minister's Office Lieutenant General Abdulrahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan.

Prince Salman and Prince Khalid attended a luncheon party held by the Ministry of Defense on the occasion of royal decrees issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud , the Supreme Commander of All Military Forces, on their appointment as Defense Minister and Deputy Defense Minister.

Upon arrival, they were received by Chief of General Staff, General Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Qabil.

The banquet was attended by Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, and a number of senior officials.

Prince Salman, accompanied by Prince Khalid, paid a visit to the Command of Land Forces in Riyadh.

Upon arrival, Prince Salman was received by Chief of General Staff, General Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Qabil and Commander of Land Forces, Prince Lieutenant General Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz.

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Lieutenant General Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz congratulated Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz on the royal trust of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Supreme Commander of All Armed Forces, in their appointments as Defense Minister and Deputy Defense Minister.

The Prince said that Prince Salman has carried the flag to complete the march of late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz in the development of the Armed Forces, supported by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, stressing that he and his colleagues will work sincerely with all their strength in the service of this dear homeland.

At the end of the visit, Prince Salman wrote in a visitors' register that he is pleased to pay an inspection tour of the Command of Land Forces and also delighted over what he has seen of the development of the land forces in arming and training on the latest methods of combat, adding that the land forces were the nucleus of the army of the late Founder King Abdulaziz, (May Allah bless his soul).

Prince Salman noted that the land forces are the backbone of the Armed Forces and he is proud of them, stressing that he will follow the steps of the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz to achieve his aspirations in building advanced and great Armed Forces.

Prince Salman was accompanied by Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and Director General of Defense Minister's Office, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan.

Prince Salman received Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom, the President of both the Senior Scholars Council and the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, who came to congratulate him on the royal trust for his appointment as the Defense Minister.

The Grand Mufti prayed to Allah Almighty to help Prince Salman in serving his religion, the King and the nation.

The meeting was attended by Prince Bandar Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz.