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

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World Leaders React to News of Saudi King's Death


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. He also made great strides to invest in the Saudi people, and the Kingdom's infrastructure and economic development. The scholarship program that bears his name represents an enormous, far-sighted contribution to Saudi Arabia's future prosperity. I know he was very proud of his role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and as leader of his people." - 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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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. The Secretary-General is also grateful for King Abdullah's generous humanitarian and developmental support for people across the Arab region and wider world. King Abdullah's leadership will be remembered throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds and the international community." - Spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

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

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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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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. - Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

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"I offer my deepest condolences to Saudi Arabia and the family of King Abdullah bin-Abdulaziz 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. He attached great importance to relations with China, contributing greatly to the China-Saudi Arabia friendship. Therefore it gave us great sorrow to learn about his death. We offer our deepest condolences to the government and people of Saudi Arabia." - 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. A few days ago I spoke to Crown Prince Salman and enquired about King Abdullah's health. News of King Abdullah's passing away is saddening," - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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