Saudi King Abdullah is suffering from a herniated disc, the royal court declared on Friday, four days after he failed to preside over the weekly cabinet meeting."The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ... is suffering from back problems which doctors diagnosed as a herniated disc," said a brief statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
"Doctors have advised him to rest as part of his therapy," it said, adding that the announcement followed the monarch's "principle of transparency."
According to AFP, the 86-year-old monarch has curtailed his activities since June with no clear explanation, although diplomats have said they understood he was fatigued.
On Monday his half brother, second deputy prime minister and interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, presided over the cabinet meeting with no explanation why the king was absent.