King Philippe will travel to Oman following the sultan’s death
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    King Philippe will travel to Oman following the sultan’s death

    The sultan had reportedly been struggling with his health since 2014. Credit: Wikipedia

    Belgium’s King Philippe will be going to Oman on Wednesday to offer his condolences following the death of sultan Qabous bin Saïd Al Saïd, the royal palace stated on Tuesday.

    He will hold talks with the new sultan, Haitham ben Tarek.

    The sultan of Oman, Qabous, who had reigned over the country for nearly 50 years, died during the weekend at the age of 79. His health had reportedly been bad since 2014, and he had undergone treatment in Germany for an unspecified ailment, as previously reported.

    He recently came to Belgium for what the foreign affairs ministry said were “medical examinations” it was assumed he was suffering from cancer, in which the Gasthuisberg wing of the Leuven university hospital is specialised.

    His presence in the city was, however, more remarked upon because of the disruption his arrival caused on the local hospitality scene. His entourage had taken over the hotel The Fourth in the city centre in its entirety from the beginning of December until the end of January, including all tables at the hotel’s restaurant Tafelrond. As a result, hundreds of members of the public who had booked rooms and tables for the Christmas and New Year period had their reservations cancelled.

    In the event the Sultan left Leuven after only a week, thanking the city for its hospitality. The restaurant and hotel remained closed, and donated the leftover food to Poverello, an organisation that helps out the less fortunate.

    Haitham ben Tarek, the minister of heritage and culture and cousin of the deceased sultan Qabous, has since been sworn in as the new sultan of Oman.

    The Brussels Times