Saudi crown prince reported to return home in a week

April 8, 2012 05:26


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JEDDAH - Saudi Crown Prince Nayef is expected to return to Saudi Arabia next week, a month after traveling to the United States for medical tests, a Saudi official told Reuters on Saturday.

Prince Nayef, who is about 78 years old, went to Cleveland in March for "scheduled medical tests," Saudi state television said at the time. He left a clinic there after a few days.

"He's expected to arrive ... either Thursday or Friday, God willing," the official said.

King Abdullah appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef as the new crown prince of the world's top oil exporter in October, after ex-Crown Prince Sultan died of colon cancer in New York.

Nayef, who is considered a conservative even by Saudi standards for his close ties with the austere Wahhabi sect of Islam, has been a pivotal figure and supervised the daily affairs of the kingdom in the absence of the king, who has suffered from back problems.

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