DUBAI (HPD) — Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince will not attend a regional summit in Algeria after his doctors advised him not to travel, the royal court said Sunday.
The admission by the state-run Saudi Press Agency came hours after the Algerian presidency indicated that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 37, would not attend due to health reasons, sparking speculation about the reason.
Royal doctors have advised the prince not to fly long distances to avoid “trauma” to his middle ear, the statement said, without elaborating. Exactly what the problem is is unknown, but middle ear infections can lead to ruptured eardrums and trauma such as excessive pressure when flying long distances.
Prince Mohammed has risen rapidly to power under his father, 86-year-old King Salman. The Saudi royal family has focused in recent years on the monarch’s health, with analysts hinting that the prince could rule the oil-rich nation for decades after ascending the throne.
Earlier, the Algerian Press Service published statements in Arabic and French referring to a statement from President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s office about a phone call between him and Prince Mohamed.
In the call, the prince “apologized for not being able to participate in the Arab Summit to be held on November 1 in Algiers, in accordance with the recommendations of the doctors who advise him not to travel,” the statement read. “For his part, the president said that he understood the situation and regretted the impediment of the crown prince, His Highness the Emir Mohamed Bin Salman, expressing his wishes for his health and well-being.”
An earlier report by the Saudi Press Agency acknowledged a call between Tebboune and the prince, but made no mention of the doctors’ advice. He only stressed that the phone call focused on “the aspects of bilateral relations between the two sister countries” and the possible joint cooperation.
It is the first time that the Arab League has met since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The body, founded in 1945, represents 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Syria is suspended due to the war.