Saudi Crown Prince returns home after treatment

11.12.2009 KSA

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The crown prince of top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia returned to the kingdom on Friday after spending most of the year in Morocco following medical treatment in the United States.


Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, thought to be about 85, underwent an operation in New York in February and then went to Morocco, authorities said at the time without saying what he was suffering from.

" He has completed the treatment period and stopped taking medication about two months ago "
Prince Khaled bin Sultan The royal court said in a statement earlier this week that the treatment had been successful, without giving further details.

After seven months of hints that he was coming home, his son and deputy defense ministry Prince Khaled bin Sultan had announced his imminent return on November 29, suggesting Sultan had recovered his health.

"He has completed the treatment period and stopped taking medication about two months ago," Khaled had said.

In March, King Abdullah appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz as second deputy prime minister, cementing his rank in the royal family hierarchy.

Prince Nayef has been interior minister for more than 30 years and is one of the conservative forces in the royal family which has given the religious establishment vast influence in a country applying a strict version of Sunni Islam.

Stability in the U.S.-allied Islamic kingdom, which does not have an elected parliament, is important to economies around the globe due to the negative impact of any interruption of oil exports on the world economy.

Islamists linked to al-Qaeda conducted a failed campaign of violence to destabilize the ruling family from 2003 to 2006. Al-Qaeda has since stepped up its activities in neighboring Yemen.




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