Kuwait emir travels to Europe after health check-up in US

Visit is private and state media did not disclose where Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad had gone, or how long he would be away

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Kuwait's new Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah gestures as he takes the oath of office at the parliament, in Kuwait City, Kuwait September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee/File Photo
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Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad travelled to Europe on Sunday for a private visit, state news agency KUNA reported.

The report did not state his destination or how long he planned to be in Europe.

The visit comes after a successful medical exam in the US.

Sheikh Nawaf, 83, assumed power in the oil-producing Gulf Arab state last September after the death of his brother, Sheikh Sabah.

He travelled to the US on March 4 for “routine” medical exams. State-run news previously reported that he travelled to Germany for back surgery in 2013 and years later to the US for medical tests.

Back home, the government is tackling a liquidity crunch caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. MPs have been at loggerheads with the Cabinet over passing bills to allow the government to raise funds through a debt issue.

It is not uncommon for Kuwaiti leaders to undergo treatment and medical tests in the US. Sheikh Sabah travelled there several times to be seen by doctors.

Last summer, a US Air Force C-17 flying hospital ferried him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment before his death.

Kuwait and the US have been strong allies since the 1991 Gulf War, during which Washington expelled the occupying Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein.