US was worried over Saudi prince health - WikiLeaks

RIYADH Wed Dec 1, 2010 6:09pm IST

Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (C), Saudi Arabia's Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation, greets military delegates in front of Spain's Defence Minister Carme Chacon (L) after his arrival for their meeting in Madrid November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Andrea Comas (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (C), Saudi Arabia's Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation, greets military delegates in front of Spain's Defence Minister Carme Chacon (L) after his arrival for their meeting in Madrid November 2, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Andrea Comas (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Related Topics

RIYADH (Reuters) - The United States voiced doubts over the health of Saudi Arabia's elderly Crown Prince Sultan in a diplomatic cable in May 2009, writing that he was "incapacitated", according to website WikiLeaks.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has sought to quash speculation on the health of Sultan, who is thought to be in his mid-eighties and was treated for an unspecified sickness for much of the past two years.

Sultan, who officially stands in line to inherit the throne, rushed home last month from a three-month break in Morocco after King Abdullah, who is around 87, sought medical treatment in New York.

"Crown Prince Sultan has been incapacitated by illness for at least (the) past year," the U.S. embassy in Riyadh wrote in a cable in May 2009. At the time Sultan was in Morocco for rest after medical treatment in the United States.

Abdullah, who underwent surgery in New York last week after a blood clot complicated a slipped spinal disk, has asked Sultan to run the kingdom, a staunch U.S. ally, during his absence.

Saudi officials say Sultan is working normally. State media this week showed pictures of him chairing a cabinet meeting and receiving Saudi officials.

But diplomats in Riyadh say Sultan has been treated for cancer and seem to have unofficially delegated duties to other princes since his return in December following an absence abroad for almost a year.

With both Abdullah and Sultan in their 80s, the next in line would be conservative Interior Minister Prince Nayef, at a relatively youthful 76. Nayef would still need the approval of Saudi Arabia's "Allegiance Council" to become king.

Abdullah appointed his half-brother Nayef second deputy prime minister in 2009 in a move that analysts say will secure the leadership in the event of serious health problems afflicting the king and crown prince and improve Nayef's chances of one day being king.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Ron Askew)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Downing Of Flight MH17

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mideast Conflict

Mideast Conflict

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts  Full Article 

New President

New President

Indonesian president-elect Jokowi calls for unity after bitter election.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crash

Ukraine Crash

Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West.  Full Article 

Probe Sought

Probe Sought

Palestinians seek U.N. inquiry into Israel assault on Gaza   Full Article 

Food Safety Scandal

Food Safety Scandal

Safety violations at McDonald's, Yum China supplier company-led - regulator  Full Article 

Death of a Spy

Death of a Spy

Britain does U-turn on ex-KGB agent Litvinenko murder inquiry.  Full Article 

Flights Affected

Flights Affected

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due to instability  Full Article 

Soured Ties

Soured Ties

Turkey's Erdogan acknowledges strains with Obama.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage