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Saudi crown prince in U.S. for medical tests

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef has arrived in the United States for medical tests, Saudi state television said on Friday.

Prince Nayef, who has been the kingdom’s interior minister for decades, arrived in Cleveland for “scheduled medical tests”, it said, without giving further details.

At about 78, Prince Nayef is part of an ageing leadership in the world’s top oil exporter, whose stability is key to the world economy.

The television said Prince Nayef had arrived in the United States from Morocco, where state media said on Thursday he had traveled for a private vacation.

Saudi liberals see him as an anti-reform force who is likely to take a cautious approach to social and political change. In foreign affairs, he is expected to focus on national security, having led the kingdom’s fight against al Qaeda as interior minister since 1975.

However, former diplomats to Riyadh and some analysts say he is likely to show a more pragmatic side as crown prince, and eventually as king.