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Sun 8 Apr 2012 08:54 AM

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Saudi crown prince to return next week - source

Prince Nayef expected back in Saudi after US medical tests

Saudi crown prince to return next week - source
"Hes expected to arrive... either Thursday or Friday, God willing." (AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef is expected to return to Saudi Arabia next week, a month after travelling to the US for medical tests, a Saudi official told Reuters on Saturday.

Prince Nayef, who is about 78 years old, went to Cleveland in March for "scheduled medical tests", Saudi state television said at the time. He left a clinic there after a few days.

"He's expected to arrive... either Thursday or Friday, God willing," the official said.

King Abdullah appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef as the new crown prince of the world's top oil exporter in October, after ex-Crown Prince Sultan died of colon cancer in New York.

Nayef, who is considered a conservative even by Saudi standards for his close ties with the austere Wahhabi sect of Islam, has been a pivotal figure and supervised the daily affairs of the kingdom in the absence of the king, who has suffered from back problems.