President Obama Meets With Saudi Arabian King Abdullah

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud speak to the media after their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House June 29, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama and Abdullah spoke about the peace process in the Middle East.

This morning began with rumors that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had died, though it quickly became clear this was not the case. However, King Abdullah has been in poor health for years and is currently hospitalized undergoing treatment for pneumonia.

The Saudi Press Agency (English version) confirmed that King Abdullah was still recovering today when Prince Charles of Wales made a phone call to check on the King’s wellbeing:

“The heir apparent of the United Kingdom, Prince Charles of Wales was reassured about the health of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, wishing him permanent health. This came during a phone call made by Prince Charles to Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Minister of the National Guard who, in turn, reassured the Prince of Wales on the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, expressing thanks to him for his noble feelings.” Saudi Press Agency

Succession to the Saudi throne is a closely watched issue among political and economic circles outside the Kingdom. Thus far, the King’s latest illness has had little impact on oil markets. It appears Saudi leadership including Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz – the next in line for the throne – and oil minister Ali al Naimi are in agreement with regard to the Kingdom’s oil policy and that a leadership change would be unlikely to alter that policy.

Jareer Elass provides detailed background information and details on the current situation here. Importantly, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research Michael Lynch points out that oil markets should be paying more attention to Venezuela where “the situation in Caracas is a much greater potential source of upheaval and oil supply disruption.”