Oman's Sultan returns after undergoing treatment abroad

Sultan Qaboos arrives back in Muscat after eight months of medical treatment in Germany, state television says.

    Since assuming power in 1970, Qaboos has transformed Oman from an isolated backwater into a modern state [AFP]
    Since assuming power in 1970, Qaboos has transformed Oman from an isolated backwater into a modern state [AFP]

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman has returned home after eight months of medical treatment in Germany, state television has reported.

    The 74-year-old returned to the capital, Muscat, on Monday after completing medical treatment in Germany, the state TV said.

    Footage showed Qaboos walking unaided from a royal aircraft and across a red carpet on the tarmac.

    The royal court did not say what kind of treatment was administered to the Sultan, who has ruled Oman since overthrowing his father in a bloodless coup in 1970.

    His last public appearance was in November, when Qaboos announced on state television that his treatment was giving "good results" and that he would miss his country's national day.

    Since Monday, Omanis have taken to the streets to celebrate the return of their leader.

    Since assuming power, Qaboos transformed Oman from an isolated backwater, with little or no infrastructure, into a modern state.

    Succession fears

    But his prolonged absence for treatment has stirred questions over succession.

    In October 2011, Qaboos, who has no children or brothers, amended the process of choosing his successor.

    The sultan, whose closest relatives are cousins, appointed five top officials to a council that would be involved in confirming the new sultan in case of any royal family dispute.

    The sultanate, which has a population estimated at around four million, derives 79 percent of its revenues from oil, of which it produces about one million barrels per day.

    The non-OPEC member has projected a budget deficit this year of $6.47 billion, representing 8.0 percent of gross domestic product.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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