|Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz (L front) is greeted by visiting Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al- Khalifa (R front) at the international airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 23, 2011. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz returned home Wednesday after a three-month absence for medical treatment. (Xinhua/Saudi Press Agency)
RIYADH, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz returned home Wednesday after a three-month absence for medical treatment, state TV reported.
Hundreds of men in white robes performed a traditional Bedouin sward dance on special carpets laid out at Riyadh airport.
The kingdom has declared Saturday a public holiday to celebrate the king's safe return.
The Saudi monarch has earlier announced a series of economic reforms that included housing and other benefits for Saudis ahead of his return.
Abdullah, the ruler of the world's biggest oil exporter, left for the United States on Nov. 22 and has underwent a successful back surgery. On Jan. 22, Abdullah arrived in Casablanca to recuperate.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, ruled by a Sunni monarchy and home to a small Shiite community, has been anxiously watching the developments in its smaller neighbor Bahrain.
Mideast turmoil underscores need for alternative forms of energy: former U.S. defense secretary
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Upheaval in the Middle East highlights the need for alternative forms of energy to reduce economic dependency on any one region, said former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen.
"Each country is going to have to find alternative forms of energy," said the former Clinton administration official in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua. Full story
Senior U.S. envoy to visit Gulf states
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will travel to Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 22 to March 2 as unrest is spreading to the Gulf region, the State Department said on Tuesday.
In Kuwait, he will attend the celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the kingdom's independence and the 20th anniversary of its liberation by U.S.-led coalition forces. Full story