BFF-34 Saudi king undergoes gall bladder surgery: royal court

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Saudi king undergoes gall bladder surgery: royal court

RIYADH, July 23, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler
King Salman underwent successful surgery Thursday to remove his gall
bladder, the royal court said, three days after he was admitted to
hospital.

It is rare for Saudi Arabia to report on the health of the ageing
monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and the Arab world’s
biggest economy since 2015.

The king is the second reigning monarch in the Gulf to be
hospitalised recently, after Kuwait’s 91-year-old emir Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, amid the twin regional crises of the coronavirus
pandemic and a plunge in crude prices.

The king “underwent a laparoscopic surgery to remove the gall
bladder today… at King Faisal specialist hospital in Riyadh,” the
royal court said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press
Agency (SPA).

The king will remain in hospital for some time after the
“successful” surgery, the statement added.

US President Donald Trump was “reassured of the health” of the king
during a phone call on Thursday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman, SPA reported.

The monarch was admitted to hospital on Monday “for some medical
tests” due to inflammation of the gall bladder, according to the royal
court.

The king’s hospitalisation prompted Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa
al-Kadhemi to postpone his scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia, which had
been due to start on Monday this week.

A video released by state media on Tuesday showed the king chairing
a virtual cabinet meeting from hospital.

The video, which was not accompanied by audio, was apparently aimed
at dispelling rumours about the king’s health.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia dismissed reports and mounting speculation
that the king was planning to abdicate in favour of his young son,
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely seen as the de facto
ruler.

Under the king’s rule, Saudi Arabia has launched ambitious economic
reforms for a post-oil era and given more rights to women, but also
adopted a more assertive foreign policy and entered a war in
neighbouring Yemen.

BSS/AFP/MRU/22 54hrs