Omani Leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said addresses the opening session of the Council of Oman in Muscat on October 31, 2011. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED MAHJOUB
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The prolonged absence of Oman's Sultan Qaboos, who has not returned since traveling overseas for medical tests six months ago for suspected cancer, has stirred fears over stability in his Gulf country.Qaboos, who has been on the throne for 44 years, went to Germany in July for medical tests, with one diplomat saying he suffers from colon cancer.Omani analyst Ahmed Ali al-Mukhaini said Qaboos would be remembered as the man who transformed the sultanate into a modern state.In 2011, Qaboos amended the process for choosing his successor. He appointed five top officials to a council that would be involved in confirming the new sultan in case of any royal family dispute.The sultanate derives 79 percent of its revenues from oil, of which it produces only about one million barrels per day.
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