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Saudi Arabian King Arrives in US for Medical Treatment

Saudi King Abdullah (file photo)

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is undergoing medical treatment in the United States after a blood clot complicated a slipped spinal disc.

The official Saudi Press Agency said Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and a number of top Saudi officials met King Abdullah when he arrived in New York Tuesday. The news service published a photograph of the aging monarch in a wheelchair at the airport.

The U.S. State Department said late Monday that the United States hoped for the king's "speedy recovery."

King Abdullah flew out of Saudi Arabia earlier Monday after handing over duties to Crown Prince Sultan.

Both the monarch and crown prince are in their 80s and have suffered from health problems in recent years. Crown Prince Sultan, who also is the defense minister, has been convalescing in Morocco and returned to Saudi Arabia just prior to the king's departure.

Analysts say that after King Abdullah and Sultan, the 76-year-old Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz could most likely be the next ruler.

Since modern Saudi Arabia's creation in the 1930s, sons of its founder, King Abdul-Aziz, have ruled the kingdom.

Any transfer of power is expected to have worldwide implications, as the country controls a large portion of the world's oil and is a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic militancy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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