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Saudi king`s health improving, says daughter

King Abdullah`s health is improving and he should soon return to Saudi Arabia from the US where he underwent back surgery, his daughter said.



Riyadh: King Abdullah`s health is
improving and he should soon return to Saudi Arabia from the
US where he underwent back surgery, his daughter said in
comments published on Wednesday.

"The king`s health is constantly improving. He has
been attending physiotherapy sessions and will return to the
country when he has completed his treatment," Princess Adelah
told Saudi daily Al-Watan, speaking on the margins of a
women`s conference at Riyadh`s King Saud University.

The king, who is about 86 years old, flew to New York
on November 22 and was operated on two days later for a
debilitating herniated disc complicated by a haematoma that
put pressure on his spine.

That surgery was declared a success, as was a second
operation to repair several vertebrae.

Saudi television showed Abdullah walking with
difficulty and smiling at hospital staff on December 22 as he
left the facility for a period of convalescence and
physiotherapy at his New York residence.

The monarch`s advanced age combined with his back
hernia raised concerns about the future of the world`s biggest
oil exporter, which has been ruled by the Al-Saud family since
1932.

The crown prince, Abdullah`s half brother Prince
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who has been defence minister since
1962, is also in his mid-80s and has been slowed by what is
believed to be cancer.

Little seen for the past two years, Sultan returned
from Morocco on November 21 to assume control of the royal
government in Abdullah`s absence.

The kingdom is a close US ally, and Washington has
pressed Riyadh to crack down on Islamic militants and help
counter the threat it says is posed by Iran.

US Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit to the
hospital and met with Abdullah`s family on December 15, but
apparently did not meet the king himself.

President Barack Obama called the monarch on December
26 to hail his recovery "progress," the White House said.

PTI

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