Saudi royals split on new crown prince
Members of the US-backed Saudi royal family have reportedly been driven apart over the appointment of radical Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz as King Abdullah's successor, Press TV reported.
Nayef was picked by the Allegiance Council, which is charged with the responsibility of determining succession in the authoritarian kingdom, following last month's death of the previous Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who died in a New York hospital at the age of 82.
Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, another senior royal, has quit the council in an apparent sign of protest to the appointment, prominent British daily The Telegraph reported on Thursday.
"After informing King Abdullah, Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz announced his resignation from the Allegiance Council," read a statement posted on his website.
The 37-member council, which was established by king Abdullah in 2006, is mostly composed of Nayef's brothers and cousins.
Since the death of the conservative kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz in 1953, all succeeding monarchs have been among one of his 37 sons from numerous wives.
The 87-year-old King Abdullah is also suffering from a variety of health issues and has undergone multiple backbone surgeries in the United States in the past couple of years.