Saudi crown prince to skip summit on doctor advice: Algeria

AP , Sunday 23 Oct 2022

Saudi Arabia's powerful 37-year-old crown prince will not attend an upcoming summit in Algeria after his doctors advised him not to travel, the Algerian presidency said early Sunday.

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Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman attending the annual Shura Council meeting in Jeddah, on October 16, 2022. AFP

 

Saudi Arabia offered no immediate acknowledgement of the comments by Algeria about the condition of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who could rule the OPEC-leading nation for decades.

The kingdom's government did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press about the prince, whose health hasn't previously prevented him from travelling.

Statements carried in Arabic and French on the Algeria Press Service referred to a report from the office of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune about a telephone call between him and Prince Mohammed.

In the call, Prince Mohammed ``apologized for not being able to participate in the Arab Summit to be held on Nov. 1 in Algiers, in accordance with the recommendations of doctors who advise him not to travel,'' the statement read.

``For his part, Mr. President said he understood the situation and regretted the impediment of the Crown Prince, His Highness the Emir Mohammed Bin Salman, expressing his wishes for his health and well-being.``

A statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency acknowledged a call between Tebboune and the prince but offered no word on the doctors' advice. It just said the call focused on ``the aspects of bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries`` and possible joint cooperation.

The Arab League Summit in Algeria represents the first time the regional body has met since the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the world.

The Arab League, founded in 1945, represents 22 nations across the Mideast and North Africa, though Syria has been suspended amid its long-running war. While unified in the call for the Palestinians to have an independent state, the body has otherwise been largely fractious and unable to enforce its mandates.

Prince Mohammed came to power in 2015 as a deputy crown prince, then quickly became crown prince some two years after King Salman removed Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a once-powerful figure as head of Saudi counterterrorism efforts and a close American ally.

His rise to power, however, has seen the kingdom undergo rapid changes, like allowing women to drive and opening movie theatres while loosening the grip of ultraconservatives in the kingdom.

Recently, the prince has come under intense American criticism over Saudi Arabia leading OPEC and allied nations to agree to an oil production cut of 2 million barrels per day.

The Future Investment Initiative, the crown prince's annual summit drawing global investors to the kingdom, begins Tuesday amid that U.S. pressure. Prince Mohammed has attended sessions in previous years.

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