King Abdullah appears on TV to confirm health

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Saudi King Abdullah has appeared on state television for the first time since his 11-hour operation to tighten a back ligament on 17 November, helping assuage fears over his health.

In footage broadcast on state TV yesterday, the monarch, who is in his late 80s, appeared to be in good health as he received members of the royal family and officials at the National Guard’s King Abdulaziz Medical City in the capital, Riyadh.

“It should put to rest all the rumours,” Jamal Khashoggi, an influential Saudi commentator said of the footage.

The media did not say when the king would leave hospital.

Because power in the world’s top oil-exporting country is concentrated in the hands of the king and top princes, their health is closely watched.

The royal family and senior hospital officials have reassured Saudis about the king’s health. But the lack of pictures of the monarch fuelled speculation about the king’s health.