Saudi crown prince in good health, on holiday

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, who has spent much of the last year abroad for medical treatment and rest, is in good health and continuing his holiday, his son said on Wednesday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 27 Oct 2010, 8:55 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:29 AM

His comments, in a country where the health of senior members of the ruling family is a closely guarded secret, follow speculation about the condition of the absent half-brother and heir to aged King Abdullah.

Political stability in the monarchy is of global concern. The Gulf Arab state controls more than a fifth of the world’s crude reserves, is a vital US ally in the region, a major holder of dollar assets and home to the biggest Arab bourse.

“As you know he’s on a private holiday. Thank God he is in good health, he enjoys good health,” Prince Khaled bin Sultan, who is also assistant defence minister, said of his father, who is widely believed to be in his mid-80s.

King Abdullah is thought to be 86 or 87 and most of the senior royals are in their 70s and 80s.

Sultan, who is also defence minister and deputy prime minister of the top oil exporter and major US ally, left Saudi Arabia for a holiday in Morocco in August.

During his vacation, the Saudi cabinet decided on a salary increase for soldiers and officers, a traditional domain of Sultan, diplomats say.

Analysts say the ruling Al Saud family, which founded the kingdom with the help of clerics in 1932, needs to promote younger princes to dispel the image of gerontocracy.

So far only sons of state founder Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud can become kings of which about 20 are left.

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