Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Forbes magazine has once again listed the Saudi King as one of the 70 most influential people in the world Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz had a successful second operation in New York on Friday, the royal court said in a statement released by the kingdom's state news agency.

Earlier on Friday, the court said the king would have surgery to stabilise vertebrae in his spinal column.

"The operation, which took place at exactly six in the morning New York time, was successful, and a second phase of physiotherapy will begin after that [the operation]," the statement issued through the Saudi Press Agency said.

The royal court did not elaborate on when the physiotherapy stage would start, or when the ruler would return to his kingdom.

The second operation was the completion of earlier surgery in New York some time back after a blood clot complicated a slipped disc, a statement released earlier on Friday said.

A Saudi official on the sidelines of a Gulf security conference in Bahrain confirmed the success of the second operation.

"He is well. He had an operation today and I hope he soon gets better," Prince Turki Al Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief, said.

Asked when the king would return home, Prince Turki replied: "I have no idea. You will have to wait for what comes out [officially]." The Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz has returned from abroad to govern the kingdom while King Abdullah is away for an unspecified period.

King Abdullah, who came to power in 2005, is the sixth leader of Saudi Arabia, whose political stability is of regional and global concern. The kingdom controls more than a fifth of the world's crude oil reserves, is a vital US ally in the region, a major holder of dollar assets and home to the biggest Arab bourse.

Allies' concern

The kingdom is keen to show its allies in US and elsewhere there will be no power vacuum as health problems beset its octogenarian rulers, but the king's recent treatment has aroused concerns over whether a reformist or a conservative would succeed him on the throne.