Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled Oman since 1970, is unmarried and has no children or brothers [File: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters]

Sultan Qaboos of Oman will head to Belgium on Saturday for a medical checkup, a royal court statement has said.

Qaboos, 79, believed to be suffering from colon cancer, has rarely appeared in public since undergoing lengthy treatment in Germany in March 2015.

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The statement said the checkup will take “a limited period of time”, but did not specify the duration or give details on his condition.

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The sultan’s ill health and repeated hospital spells in Germany have focused attention on the fact that he has no designated successor.

Qaboos, who has ruled the Gulf sultanate since 1970, is unmarried

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