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Cablegate: Sultan's Eldest Son Made Crown Prince;

R 140812Z AUG 98
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8035
INFO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

UNCLAS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000550

DEPT FOR EAP/PIMBS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON
SUBJECT: SULTAN'S ELDEST SON MADE CROWN PRINCE;
PRINCE JEFRI VOWS TO DEFEND HIS INTERESTS

REF: BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 00523

1.SUMMARY: THE SULTAN'S ELDEST SON, PRINCE BILLAH, WAS
MADE CROWN PRINCE IN A VERY TRADITIONAL CEREMONY ON
AUGUST 11. THE WIDELY EXPECTED RETURN OF PRINCE JEFRI
DID NOT HAPPEN. IN A SECOND INTERVIEW WITH REUTER'S
JEFRI VOWED TO DEFEND HIS INTERESTS IF THEY ARE
THREATENED. END SUMMARY.

2.THE CEREMONY TO PROCLAIM YANG TERAMAT MULIA PADUKA
SERI DULI PENGIRAN MUDA HAJI AL-MUHTADEE BILLAH AS
CROWN PRINCE WAS ATTENDED BY THOUSANDS OF SENIOR
BRUNEIANS AND MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORP. INVITED
GUESTS INCLUDED THE SON OF KING HUSSAIN OF JORDAN.
AFTER THE CEREMONY AT WHICH THE SULTAN PRESENTED HIS
SON WITH A KERIS (MALAY DAGGER) TO MARK HIS
INAUGURATION, THE PRINCE WAS CONVEYED IN PROCESSION
THROUGH THE CAPITAL ON AN ELABORATE, GOLD PLATED
CARRIAGE. THE PRINCE NOW CARRIES THE TITLE DULI YANG
TERAMAT MULIA PADUKA SERI PENGIRAN MUDA MAHKOTA HAJI
AL-MUHTADEE BILLAH. IT IS EXPECTEO THAT IN THE NEAR
FUTURE THE CROWN PRINCE WILL BE APPOINTED TO AN
INFLUENTIAL GOVERNMENT POST.

3.IT HAD BEEN WIDELY RUMORED FOR SEVERAL WEEKS THAT
PRINCE JEFRI WOULD BEGIN TO MEND HIS RIFT WITH THE
SULTAN AND RETURN TO BRUNEI FOR THE CROWNING.
HOWEVER, SOURCES SAY THAT NEGOTIATIONS TO INVITE JEFRI
TO RETURN BROKE DOWN. THE WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12 BORNEO
BULLETIN PUBLISHED A REUTER'S ARTICLE WHICH REPORTED A
STATEMENT FROM PRINCE JEFRI, GIVEN ON THE EVE OF THE
ROYAL INAUGURATION. THE STATEMENT READ "ON THE
OCCASION OF HIS INVESTITURE, I WISH TO OFFER CROWN
PRINCE BILLAH MY CONGRATULATIONS AND WARMEST GOOD
WISHES. I REGRET THAT I AM UNABLE TO ATTEND THE
CEREMONY, BUT THE RECENT DISTURBING TURN OF EVENTS IN
BRUNEI HAS MADE THIS IMPOSSIBLE." HE ALSO REPORTEDLY
SAID THAT FOR THE PRESENT HE PREFERRED TO BE LEFT
ALONE, BUT THAT HE WOULD DEFEND VIGOROUSLY HIS
POSITION AND THE INTERESTS OF HIS FAMILY IF FORCED TO
DO SO. THE PRINCE IS REPORTEDLY IN THE UNITED STATES.

4.IN THE THURSDAY, AUGUST 13 BORNEO BULLETIN, MALAI
HASSAN CONTINUED HIS REPORTING ON THE PUBLIC SUPPORT
THE SULTAN IS RECEIVING FOR HIS STANCE ON THE
AMEDEO/PRINCE JEFRI AFFAIR. UNNAMED BRUNEIAN
COMMUNITY LEADERS WERE QUOTED AS SAYING "HIS MAJESTY
HAS MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT NO ONE, NOT EVEN HIS
FAMILY MEMBERS, IS ABOVE THE LAW AND HE IS CLEARLY
COMMITTED TO HIS DIVINE DUTY TO LEAD AND GUIDE THE
COUNTRY ON THE NATION'S WELL-TESTED MIB (MALAY ISLAMIC
MONARCHY) PHILOSOPHY." MALAI HASSAN ALSO REITERATED
THE BRUNEI GOVERNMENT'S STATEMENTS, ISSUED BY ITS
INFORMATION DEPARTMENT, THAT BRUNEI IS NOT BEING
INFLUENCEO BY FOREIGN EXTREMISTS.

5.COMMENT: THE DEEP RIFT BETWEEN THE SULTAN AND PRINCE
JEFRI DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ON THE MEND. THERE IS
SPECULATION THAT THE SULTAN IS ABOUT TO APPROPRIATE
PRINCE JEFRI'S OIL EXPLORATION JOINT VENTURE
COMPANIES, ONE OF WHICH IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN
PRODUCTION NEXT YEAR. (NOTE: UNOCAL'S WORK IN BRUNEI
IS ASSOCIATED WITH JEFRI'S OFFSHORE PROPERTIES.)
PRINCE JEFRI VOWS TO DEFEND HIS BUSINESS INTERESTS BUT
IT IS NOT CLEAR HOW HE WILL DO SO.

RASE

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