By AFP – Jun 03,2018 – JORDAN TIMES
Saudi families arrive outside a stadium to attend an event in the capital Riyadh (AFP photo)
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia announced another Cabinet reshuffle on Saturday with a heavy focus on culture and religion, as the kingdom undergoes a major image overhaul.
This is the second significant government change since the appointment of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, son of the king, as heir to the region’s most powerful throne.
The crown prince serves as deputy prime minister under his father, King Salman.
State news agency SPA announced King Salman had replaced the country’s labour and Islamic affairs ministers — and named a prince linked to the purchase of a Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus as culture minister.
Saudi Arabia for decades has combined its culture and information ministries.
The decree announced the culture ministry was now a separate entity under Prince Badr Bin Abdullah, the man named by The New York Times as the mystery buyer of Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” for a record-breaking $450 million at auction last year.
The Wall Street Journal later reported that he was acting on behalf of Prince Mohammed. The Louvre Abu Dhabi has said the religious painting was “acquired” by the Emirati authorities and would be put on display there.
Non-Muslim worship is banned in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has hosted high-ranking Christian clerics in recent months, notably from Lebanon and France.
In April, the Vatican signed a memorandum for a meeting with Saudi officials every three years.
Ahmed Bin Suleiman Al Rajhi, an engineer and private sector businessman, was on Saturday named labour and social development minister. Sheikh Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al Sheikh was named the new Islamic affairs minister.