Saudi Arabia’s King Salman arrived at a planned Red Sea megacity to “rest and recuperate”, on Thursday, after the 84-year-old monarch underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder.
The official Saudi Press Agency said, "The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in NEOM, where he will spend some time to rest and recuperate."
The monarch has been ruling the Arab world’s biggest economy and top oil exporter since 2015. Saudi has been quelling speculation over the health of its ageing monarch. It rarely does report on the health of its ruler. His son, Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, is next in line for the throne.
The Saudi royal family is said to have a palace in NEOM, an area in the northwest part of the kingdom, which is currently under development. The $500-billion NEOM, set to be built from scratch along the kingdom's picturesque western coast, was hit by a rare revolt earlier this year after a tribesman, who had refused to give up his land for the project was gunned down by security forces.
Under the current monarch’s rule, Saudi Arabia has launched ambitious economic reforms to reduce its income dependency on oil and strived to create a more progressive image to the Saudi society, by giving more rights to women. At the same time, the nation has adopted a more assertive foreign policy and entered a war in neighbouring Yemen.