Oman’s Sultan addresses parliament session in rare public appearance
MUSCAT - Omani leader Sultan Qaboos made a rare public appearance on Sunday to address the annual session of parliament, in his first live broadcast speech since he returned from an eight-month medical stay in Germany.
His long absence fueled concern over the succession in the Arabian peninsula state over which Qaboos, nearly 75, has been absolute ruler since 1970.
Upon his return in March, state media said his treatment had been a success and that he was in "complete health." But he has made few public appearances since returning and is usually represented abroad by other senior officials.
Appearing in good health, Qaboos spoke for three minutes in his address to the Oman Council, which is made up of both elected and appointed members.
Western-backed Qaboos has ruled since taking over from his father in a bloodless coup with the help of Oman's former colonial power, Britain.
Since then, he has helped to transform an impoverished backwater riven by internal conflict into a prosperous state that plays a small but important role in regional diplomacy.
Oman has helped facilitate peace efforts in the region, acting as an intermediary for contacts between Iranian and US.
diplomats that culminated in the landmark nuclear deal in July and backing talks to end Yemen's ongoing civil war.