THE LEVANT – Oman’s royal court sought to reassure the nation Thursday about the health of 73-year-old ruler Sultan Qaboos who has been undergoing treatment in Germany for almost three months.
“The sultan is in good health and continuing to follow the medical treatment he has been prescribed and which with the help of God will produce the required results,” it said in a statement to mark the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha that starts on Saturday.
Sultan Qaboos, who in November marks 44 years as ruler of the Gulf state, wanted to convey his congratulations to all Omanis for the feast, said the royal court.
Omani authorities have said that Qaboos travelled to Germany on July 9 on a “private visit” and for unspecified “medical tests”.
According to a diplomatic source in Muscat the sultan, who has ruled Oman since overthrowing his father in a bloodless 1970 coup, is suffering from colon cancer.
When he took the reins of power, Oman was an isolated country living on the margins of the modern world with little or no infrastructure.
Qaboos has since transformed his Gulf sultanate — which sits atop proven gas reserves of 660 million cubic metres (23.3 billion cubic feet) — into a modern state.
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.