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    Sultan of Oman has left Leuven: reports

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman was in Leuven for around a week for 'a series of medical checks.' Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Leuven authorities have said that the Sultan of Oman has left the city, which made significant accommodations for his stay, including the total closure of a four-star hotel.

    “The sultan was escorted to Zaventem airport on Friday morning,” Leuven Mayor Mohamed Ridouani told Het Nieuwsblad. “He said that he greatly appreciated Leuven’s hospitality.”

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the longest-serving leader in the Middle East, came to the Flemish city’s renowned university hospital, UZ Leuven, to undergo a “series of medical checks,” Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced in a press release.

    The 79-year-old sultan’s reported departure cut his stay short in Belgium to just under a week, in a visit which was initially expected to last for more than a month.

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    Ahead of their arrival and throughout the week, the sultan and his entourage saw the student city repeatedly hit the headlines, initially with news that the The Fourth four-star hotel had cancelled all new and existing bookings to accommodate the sultan’s arrival.

    Later in the week, Leuven was put back in the spotlight after several black vans were seen parked in the middle of the city’s Grote Markt, in which only public transport and emergency vehicles are allowed.

    An employee of The Fourth could not confirm or deny whether the sultan had departed the luxury hotel, saying in a phone call that they were “not enabled to discuss the subject.”

    The employee said, however, that all bookings in the hotel and in its restaurant would remain closed throughout the holiday season, and would only open back on 1 February.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times