MUSCAT (Reuters) - Oman’s Sultan Qaboos returned home “in complete health” on Monday after an eight-month medical stay in Germany, state television reported, adding his treatment had been a success.
Qaboos, 74, has been absolute ruler of the Arabian peninsula state since 1970, but his absence in Germany since July had led to growing concern about his health.
Qaboos “returned to the soil of the dear nation this evening, blessed by God’s favor with complete health and wellbeing after His Majesty’s completion of a program of medical treatment in the German Federation, in which total success was registered in his results,” the television said, quoting a statement by the royal court.
Broadcasting celebratory music, state television showed him walking unaided from an aircraft along a red carpet, and then boarding a helicopter.
Western-backed Qaboos has ruled since taking over in a bloodless coup with the help of Oman’s former colonial power, Britain. Since then, he has helped to transform an impoverished backwater riven by internal conflicts into a prosperous state that plays a small but important role in regional diplomacy.
It was in Oman, for example, that Iranian and U.S. diplomats held secret contacts which led to an interim deal in 2013 on a nuclear dispute which has long heightened regional tensions.
Reporting by Fatma Al-Arimi and Noah Browning, Writing by William Maclean