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The Return of Crown Prince Sultan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Almost one full year; this is how long the Saudi Crown Prince was absent for and the perennial question and constant concern of all Saudis of all levels – or even the people of the Gulf and Arabs – is how is the health of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz now? This was a question that was asked repeatedly and tirelessly, by the high and the low, the near and the far, and today – thank God – we see the Saudi Crown Prince returning to his country safely and in good health.

With the number of questions [about his health] validating this; Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz is one of the pillars of the Saudi Royal family and is [also] the Saudi Defense Minister. Apart from all of this, Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz is a charitable institution in himself; he loves generosity and benevolence and is open to the people regardless of their rank or ideas. He is accompanied by a smile that is never absent, regardless of the event or situation.

Anybody able to attend one of his gatherings, which are open to all, or accompany him on one of his foreign trips, knows well that he is a man who loves generosity, education, development, and openness. One day one of those [who attended one of his gatherings or accompanied him on a trip] said to the Crown Prince, “Your Highness, why do we send our children abroad when we have universities in Saudi Arabia…why is there no special support for Saudi universities…rather than sending our children [abroad for education]?” The Crown Prince responded calmly, and with his usual smile, to the effect that it was a duty to urge us to continue sending our children abroad, not to stop or postpone this. He then explained the importance of Saudi Arabians learning abroad, in order to bring the best practices, science, and knowledge to the country.

There are many such examples of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, but what distinguishes him is his openness in answering all questions without causing tension or anxiety to whoever is in front of him; he is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, he is a sophisticated politician who always answers and comments without any qualms.

During a trip abroad I was with [a group of] Saudi editors-in-chief who were honored to greet the Crown Prince and to attend one of his gatherings. There was one issue that was occupying Saudi public opinion and at the time a discussion was taking place at the Crown Prince’s gathering, and there was remark by some of the ministers who were present and some of the editors-in-chief commented on the remarks of the ministers and officials. As I mentioned before, the importance of this discussion was that it came as a result of an incident in connection to public opinion, and the Crown Prince was listening and smiling and did not interrupt except to say “raise your voice,” and the discussion went on. We left the gathering that day and the media figures were amazed at the Crown Prince’s big heart and that he accepted everything that was said in front of him; in fact he defended journalism and its right to publish as long as it can verify the validity of what it has. He said that if you try to get information and contact officials and they do not answer then go ahead and publish, it’s no problem.

There is no doubt that everyone who deals with Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz has a story to tell and so it comes as no surprise that everybody is celebrating his return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today after a long trip to recover [from treatment], and at the forefront of those receiving him at the King Khalid Airport was the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

Praise be to God for the safe return of Abu Khaled, Crown Prince Sultan.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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