Doctors have advised Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince not to travel to Algiers for an upcoming summit, the Algerian presidency said Sunday, amid an absence of Saudi reports confirming health issues.
Mohammed bin Salman “apologised for not being able to participate in the Arab Summit to be held on November 1 in Algiers, in accordance with the recommendations of doctors who advise him not to travel”, the official Algerian news agency APS said, citing a presidency statement.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune responded during a phone call that “he understood the situation and regretted the crown prince’s inability to attend” the summit, expressing “wishes for his health and well-being”.
The story did not provide any explanation for the doctors’ recommendations.
Saudi officials did not respond to a request for comment.
But Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst close to the government, said the concern could be related to an “ear condition”.
Prince Mohammed “has an endemic ear condition which makes long distance air travel difficult because the pressure in an aircraft can lead to ear blockage for weeks”, he said on Twitter.
“This explains how sometimes last minute he makes travel changes. Nothing major!”
A report on the call between the two leaders by the official Saudi Press Agency made no mention of the summit or any advice from Prince Mohammed’s doctors.
It said that during the call “the aspects of bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries were reviewed”, and that the two leaders discussed “opportunities for joint cooperation”.
Prince Mohammed, 37, has been first in line to the Saudi throne since 2017.
Saudi Arabia has for years sought to quell speculation over the health of his father, 86-year-old King Salman, who has ruled the world’s top oil exporter since 2015.
In 2017, it dismissed mounting speculation that the king was planning to abdicate in favour of Prince Mohammed.
King Salman has been hospitalised twice this year, most recently a one-week stay in May that involved tests including a colonoscopy, according to state media.
There has been no similar official acknowledgement of any health conditions facing Prince Mohammed.