Saudi crown prince recovered, back in 6 weeks-king

KUWAIT Tue May 26, 2009 8:05am BST

KUWAIT May 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan has recovered from surgery and will return home within six weeks, King Abdullah was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

State media said in April Prince Sultan arrived in Morocco for "rest and recreation" after undergoing treatment in the United States, including unspecified surgery in February.

"The crown prince is in good health, thanks to God ... the Almighty has cured Sultan after he went for treatment," King Abdullah told the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Seyassah.

"He was, still is and will be our best helper and right hand in taking care of citizens and pilgrims and we look forward to his return in the next six weeks."

Prince Sultan went to the United States for medical tests in November, then to Morocco for a prescribed convalescence before flying back to New York.

Saudi media at the time described as successful the treatment received by Prince Sultan, believed to be aged about 84, but did not say what he was treated for.

In March, King Abdullah appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz as second deputy prime minister, a promotion that would normally place him second in line to the throne after Sultan.

The position means he will run the kingdom, an absolute monarchy, when both the monarch and crown prince are away.

Al Qaeda launched an unsuccessful campaign of violence to destabilise the Gulf Arab country, the world's biggest oil exporter, from 2003 to 2006. Analysts do not expect any change in oil policy with a change of monarch or crown prince.

Prince Sultan had an intestinal cyst removed in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and he visited the Swiss city of Geneva in April 2008 for what were described as routine tests. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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