Saudi king leaves for U.S. for treatment

09:34, November 23, 2010      

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Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, ruler of the world's biggest oil exporter, left on Monday for the United States for treatment while Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul- Aziz cut a private vacation in Morocco to take over the state affairs.

"The king will leave on Monday for the U.S. to complete medical tests," official SPA news agency reported, citing a statement by royal court.

Saudi Health Minister Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabeeah appeared on the state television on Sunday to reassure the nation by saying that the 86-year-old monarch's health condition is stable.

"The king has a slipped disc and blood clot that led to pressure on adjoining nerves ... causing some pain," he said.

"The medical team has recommended that the king visit a center that specializes in spinal cords for a checkup and continue treatment," the minister said. Yet, he did not specify the U.S. center where the king is going to be hospitalized.

King Abdullah was admitted to hospital on Friday after a blood clot complicated a slipped disc he suffered a week ago.

Before his departure, the Saudi monarch issued a royal decree handing over the kingdom's responsibilities during his absence to Crown Prince Sultan, who is also in his 80s.

Sultan returned to the kingdom late Sunday from Morocco where he had spent around 12 weeks on vacation.

Saudi Arabia controls more than fifth of the world's crude oil reserves. The kingdom is also considered a staunch ally of the U.S. in its war on terror.

King Abdullah rose to power in 2005 after the death of his half brother King Fahd.

Source: Xinhua


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