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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Saudi king proves a difficult patient
Saudi King Fahd
King Fahd has been in Switzerland since May

The Saudi Arabian monarch, King Fahd, has caused more than a little upheaval on his arrival at a Swiss clinic for a cataract operation.

When he moved into his room at the Geneva University Hospital to prepare for the eye operation, the monarch ordered a quantity of beds, leather couches, DVD players, carpets, television sets and private telephone lines to be taken in with him.

Hosni Mubarak
Egyptian premier Hosni Mubarak has visited the king n hospital
Local newspapers say some Swiss patients have been turned away because the king is taking up too much space.

This is 81-year-old King Fahd's first holiday abroad since 1999, and the ailing monarch was clearly not going to skimp on home comforts.

King Fahd, his security guards and staff have now taken over most of the ninth floor of the hospital.

According to the Swiss paper, Tribune de Geneve, extra nurses have had to be drafted to care for the royal party.

Frosty reception

The king, who arrived in Switzerland in May, has already caused a headache for local authorities.

Two months ago, Geneva's largest multi-media store, FNAC, agreed to open its doors in the middle of the night to allow King Fahd to go shopping away from the public eye - a move which unfortunately broke local laws governing shop opening hours.

The monarch also caused a frosty reception when he first approached the Geneva hospital for treatment, demanding that his own surgeon and not a Swiss doctor should carry out the cataract operation using his personal equipment.

The hospital refused to comply with the king's demands but it is understood that a compromise has now been reached.

King Fahd has so far had a number of celebrity visitors come to wish him well, including President Mubarak of Egypt, the United Emirates president and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

See also:

24 Nov 01 | Middle East
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