Saudi monarch King ‘Abd Allah on 28 November appeared on state television in his first public appearance since a back operation some 10 days earlier.

The operation was only a minor one, but nevertheless the appearance will have come as a relief, given King ‘Abd Allah’s age, recent frail health, regional political tensions, and Saudi ministerial changes last month. The Saudi stock market sunk to a 10-month low on 27 November, before recovering on 28 November. Despite solid economic growth, there are lingering concerns that regional unrest could spread. King ‘Abd Allah, monarch since 2005, is a strong symbol of stability. He has been in effective charge of Saudi Arabia since the 1995 stroke of his predecessor King Fahd. (CONTINUED - 271 WORDS)