Kuwait emir, 91, flies to US for medical care after surgery

Kuwait did not reveal nature of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad al-Sabah’s illness or what treatment was planned in the US.

Under Kuwaiti law, when the emir is absent, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf, the emir's half-brother, is appointed as acting ruler [File: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters]
Under Kuwaiti law, when the emir is absent, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf, the emir's half-brother, is appointed as acting ruler [File: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters]

Kuwait’s 91-year-old ruler Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah left for the United States on Thursday morning to seek further medical care after recently undergoing surgery, the state-run KUNA news agency reported.

The report did not elaborate on what required Sheikh Sabah to seek a previously unannounced medical treatment.

On Wednesday, KUNA quoted a statement from the country’s royal court saying Sheikh Sabah was leaving the country “based on advice from the medical team treating His Highness to complete his treatment after a successful surgical procedure”.

The surgery took place on Sunday.

The statement, attributed to Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah, the country’s royal court minister, did not elaborate or say where in the US the emir will receive treatment.

Kuwait also announced earlier this week that 83-year-old Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah had assumed some of Sheikh Sabah’s powers temporarily.

Under Kuwaiti law, when the emir is absent, Sheikh Nawaf, the emir’s half-brother, is appointed acting ruler.

Sheikh Nawaf is an elder statesman who has held high office for decades, including the defence and interior portfolios.

A copy of the ministerial decree posted by Kuwait’s official gazette, Kuwait Al-Youm, and seen by The Associated Press on Sunday, said the crown prince would be empowered for “the duration of a surgical procedure until the health event is over”.

Sheikh Sabah, a widely beloved ruler in this OPEC-member nation, took power in 2006, just nine days into the rule of the ailing Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah.

In September 2019, Sheikh Sabah underwent medical tests shortly after arriving in the US, leading to a meeting with President Donald Trump being called off.

The emir had his appendix removed in 2002, two years after having a pacemaker fitted. In 2007, he underwent urinary tract surgery in the US.

He is widely regarded as the architect of modern Kuwait’s foreign policy.

Kuwait, a nation home to 4.1 million people, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

Source : News Agencies

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