King Fahd of Saudi Arabia may soon leave on a trip to Spain and never come back, completing a gradual transition of authority to his half-brother, Time magazine reported Sunday.
The king fell ill in November with a reported stroke. He returned from official convalescence on Jan. 1, but the magazine, citing a diplomat it did not identify, said King Fahd suffers dementia and often does not know where he is.
King Fahd, believed to be in his early 70s, transferred power to his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, after the stroke. Abdullah continued to carry out many of the king’s duties even after his official return.
Time reported that Saudi officials are searching for a way to transfer official power to Abdullah without making it seem like an abdication, which could produce instability.
The solution, it said, citing two unidentified diplomats, would be to turn a planned vacation in Spain into a permanent trip.
The magazine said the king’s entourage had been summoned to the airport three times in the past month for an international trip, only to be summoned back to the palace.
The report, which could not be immediately confirmed, said the delays were caused by close relatives who want to assure their positions in the new government before the King is sent away.