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Sultan Qaboos returns to Oman after medical treatment in Belgium: ONA


DUBAI (Reuters) - Oman's Sultan Qaboos has returned home after medical treatment and checks in Belgium, Oman state media said on Friday, citing a Royal Court statement.

Western-backed Qaboos, 79, has ruled the Arabian Peninsula state since he took over in a bloodless coup in 1970 with the help of Oman's former colonial power Britain. He has traveled abroad for medical reasons at least twice since 2014.

He had traveled to Belgium on Dec. 7, according to the Royal Court, which did not give details of his condition.

Qaboos did not attend an annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, where the country's delegation was led by the deputy prime minister.

Qaboos has no children and has not publicly appointed a successor, but he secretly recorded his choice in a sealed envelope addressed to the royal family council.

The sultanate's Basic Law says the royal family should choose a new sultan within three days of the position falling vacant. Should it fail to reach an agreement, the nation's defense council, the head of the Supreme Court and the heads of the two chambers of the consultative council would then enforce Qaboos's choice and enthrone the person he designated in the envelope.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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