Top Saudi Official Denies Rumors Of King Fahd's Death
King Fahd is alive and well and has held a series of meetings, a top Saudi official told AFP on Monday after rumors of his death sent oil prices rocketing on world markets.
"The rumors about King Fahd are false, we are very surprised at this," the official said. "He is alive and well."
The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported the King Fahd on Sunday met several new ambassadors to the kingdom, including those representing Britain, Canada, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan and Venezuela, as well as Saudi sports officials and a football team.
According to the official SPA agency, the King also met with the Saudi ambassadors to four African countries.
However, Fahd did not attend Sunday's cabinet meeting, which was chaired instead by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
The rumors emerged from Kuwait where an official spoke off the record to reporters affirming that the Saudi king, who suffered a stroke on November 29, 1995, had died, AFP said.
In London, as the rumors spread, oil futures leapt 27 cents to 25.42 dollars a barrel. Around 1500 GMT, the Brent stabilized at 25.36 dollars a barrel.
Born in 1921, Fahd has since 1982 reigned over a country which is the world's largest petroleum exporter and holds a quarter of global oil reserves.
Due to his poor health, the king has gradually delegated the day-to-day business of government to the crown prince.
After the stroke Fahd returned to his post to chair the weekly cabinet meeting from February 1996 – Albawaba.com
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