Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan will be representing the kingdom at the upcoming Arab League Summit on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was advised by doctors to avoid travel, the Royal Court has said.
The royal medical team on Sunday recommended that the crown prince, also known as MBS, “avoid long-distance flights” due to the possible impact of air pressure on his ear, according to a statement published by the court.
The crown prince in a call on Saturday had apologised to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for not being able to participate in the summit slated to take place in Algeria on November 1 – the first since the COVID-19 pandemic – according to Arabic and French media reports.
The Arab League, founded in 1945, represents 22 nations across the Middle East and North Africa, though Syria has been suspended amid its long-running war. While unified in the call for the Palestinians to have an independent state, the body has otherwise been largely fractious and unable to enforce its mandates.
MBS, who has risen to power under his 86-year-old father King Salman was appointed crown prince in 2017, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a once-powerful figure as head of Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts and a close ally of the United States.
His rise to power has seen the kingdom undergo rapid changes, such as allowing women to drive and opening movie theatres while loosening the grip of ultraconservatives.
He also launched a purported corruption crackdown that targeted the richest men in the kingdom and led an internationally criticised Arab coalition that intervened militarily in Yemen – the poorest Arab nation.
US intelligence services have linked Prince Mohammed to the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The kingdom has denied the prince was involved and a Saudi court tried eight defendants for the murder, handing them long-term jail sentences in 2020.
Recently, the prince has come under intense US criticism over an oil production cut by the Saudi-led OPEC cartel.