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Reactions from around the world to the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)


(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

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 Defence 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 honoured 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 honourably 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 co-operation; 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. Hillary and I are also grateful for his personal friendship and kindness toward our family and we join the Saudi people in mourning his loss and send our heartfelt condolences to the royal family.” _ Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary

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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-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. I admired his position, I think it has influenced many people all around and I hope that his legacy and his proposal will remain for a long time as an important base for bringing peace. I want to express my regret and send my sympathy to his family and to Saudi Arabia.” _ 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. _ Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

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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. 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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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

The Associated Press

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