Bashir health eyed after speech canceled

Nov. 27, 2012 at 10:59 AM
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KHARTOUM, Sudan, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Questions surfaced about the health of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir following cancellation of an appearance at a conference in Khartoum.

The announcement came only hours after state news agency SUNA reported Monday Bashir would speak at the opening session of an annual gathering of Arab ministers of minerals, the Sudan Tribune reported.

The initial announcement was pulled from the agency website later in the day and replaced with a statement that presidential assistant Gala al-Digair would speak instead.

In a separate report, SUNA and SPA reported Bashir phoned Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Monday to ask about the health of King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, who underwent surgery earlier this month.

Sudan Radio Service and a pro-opposition website both quoted anonymous sources who claimed Bashir was taken Sunday by medical helicopter to a Saudi hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

SRS said government officials declined to comment on the report.

Rumors about Bashir's health began in August after he underwent what the government called a "minor" surgery on his vocal chords. Since then, he has made few appearances and cut back on speeches.

State media reported earlier this month the president had another "minor and successful operation" in Saudi Arabia to remove a benign tumor in his throat.

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