World leaders react to death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

AP News
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Posted: Jan 23, 2015 12:41 PM
World leaders react to death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

Comments from world leaders in response to the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who died early Friday in Riyadh.

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"As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. ... One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond." — U.S. President Barack Obama

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"Like his father, who founded modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah was a man of tremendous character and courage — a historic figure dedicated to advancing the lives of his people at home as well as his country's leadership abroad. He was a committed friend and partner of the United States. And he was a powerful voice for tolerance, moderation, and peace — in the Islamic world and across the globe." — U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

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"This is a sad day. The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader. King Abdullah was a man of wisdom and vision. I loved my visits with him as a senator and as secretary. Even as he battled age and illness, he held on to his sense of determination. His stories of his father and of his family were remarkable. He was so proud of the Kingdom's journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace. The courageous Arab Peace Initiative that he sponsored remains a critical document for the goal we shared of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security." — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

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"Laura and I are saddened by the death of a man I admire and with whom I was honored to work. I have very fond memories of my visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and of the King's visit to our ranch in Crawford. He was an important and able ally and a force for modernization in his country. King Abdullah served his nation honorably with strength and vision. We send our heartfelt condolences to the King's family and all who will miss him." — Former U.S. President George W. Bush

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"Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of His Majesty Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz. I had many dealings with His Majesty during and after my presidency, as did Hillary both inside and outside the State Department, and we are grateful for his support of efforts for peace in the Middle East; our close economic cooperation; the Kingdom's humanitarian efforts around the world; especially its contributions after the earthquake in Haiti; and his efforts to modernize Saudi Arabia's economy and education systems — as embodied by King Abdullah University, the Kingdom's first coeducational institution of higher education." — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon "extends his condolences to the bereaved family of King Abdullah, the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah made major contributions to the development of the Kingdom. Under his leadership over many decades in different high-level positions in government, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia achieved remarkable progress and prosperity for its people. The Secretary-General pays tribute to King Abdullah's efforts to address regional and international challenges at a time of turmoil and rapid change, and to promote dialogue among the world's faiths. As the driving force behind the Arab Peace Initiative, King Abdullah left a tangible legacy that can still point the way toward peace in the Middle East."

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King Abdullah "devoted his life to the service of the kingdom and the service of Islam. ...He will be long remembered by all who work for peace and understanding between nations and between faiths." — Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

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"The Saudi kingdom and the Arab nation have lost a leader of its best sons." — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

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"I was saddened to hear of the passing of King Abdullah. He was an example of grounded, considered and responsible leadership, with a deep religious tradition. As 'Guardian of the Holy Places' of Islam, King Abdullah acted as a moderator, respecting the sensitivity and sanctity of Jerusalem and sought to promote a vision of prosperity for the region. His wise policies contributed greatly to our region, and to the stability of the Middle East." — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

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"No doubt his death is a great loss for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause, mainly for his positions on our right to self-determination and establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. All these rights were fully supported by the late King Abdullah. We will always remember his unlimited, massive support for our Palestinian people." — Wasel Abu Yousef, an official with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

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"The death of his majesty, the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah, is a real loss for peace in the Middle East. He was an experienced leader and a wise king, and he had the courage in a very demanding period of time to stand up and to introduce a peace process for the Middle East. I'm not sure we could have accepted all the items in this peace process but the spirit, the strength and the wisdom invested in it impressed all of us and we thought it can be part of a base for making peace." — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres

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Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his "grief and sorrow" over the king's death and said Saudi Arabia holds a special place "in the heart of every Pakistani" because it is the custodian of the holy mosques, referring to the mosques in Mecca and Medina.

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"I offer my deepest condolences to Saudi Arabia and the family of King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz on this day of grief. Afghans will always remember King Abdullah as a great supporter of their jihad. He always supported the Afghan peace process." — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

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"China is deeply saddened by the death of King Abdullah. We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah was a remarkable leader of Saudi Arabia. He devoted his life to facilitating the development of Saudi Arabia and preserving peace and stability in the Gulf region. He enjoyed an outstanding reputation at home and abroad. King Abdullah was a good friend of the Chinese." — Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

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"In King Abdullah, we have lost an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country. I condole his demise. Our thoughts are with the people of Saudi Arabia, who have lost a guiding force in King Abdullah, during this hour of grief." — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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King Abdullah's policies "brought him and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia respect and recognition. With wisdom, foresight and great personal dedication, he strove for a cautious modernization of his country and for dialogue between the Islamic world and the West." — German Chancellor Angela Merkel

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"We mourn the death of one of the most notable leaders of the Arab Nation and Muslim Nation who generously gave a lot to his people and his nation and sincerely defended the causes of the Arab Nation and the Muslim Nation. As we express our sincere condolences to the Saudi royal family and the people of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the death of the great late king, Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, we express our full confidence that King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud will continue his blessed march, serving the causes of the nation and advancing the Arab joint action." — United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan

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"I wish a peaceful rest for the late King, patience for his family and I wish success for the people and the government of Saudi Arabia." — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

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King Abdullah was "one of the greatest and best leaders of our Arab and Islamic nations who devoted his life to the service of his homeland and nation," — Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

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"I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. He will be remembered for his long years of service to the Kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths." — British Prime Minister David Cameron

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"I would like to express my sadness and pain at the loss of the great Arab knight, King Abdullah. We hope the new King Salman success in his task for the good of the Saudi people and in the service of the Arab-Muslim nation as was the case for the late king." — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas