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Saudi Arabia King to be buried Friday
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Saudi Arabia King to be buried Friday

Yvonne Williams

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who reigned over the oil-rich Gulf country for nearly a decade, would be buried Friday following the afternoon Islamic prayers.

Abdullah, who had been the country’s main decision maker since 1995, took over from his predecessor, King Fahd when he suffered a stroke, died early on Friday.

A royal statement on Friday in Riyadh said his half-brother Salman was elevated from crown prince and was now the monarch of the country.

The statement noted that following the burial in Riyadh, citizens are to be invited to swear allegiance to the new king.

The new King, Salman has held the key posts of Defence and Interior Minister and was a key part of Saudi Arabia’s diplomacy, often visiting Western countries.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was expected to lead a U.S. presidential delegation to Saudi Arabia to pay respects.

Tributes have begun to pour in from Arab neighbours and Asian nations.

President Barack Obama expressed condolences and saluted the late king’s commitment to close U.S.-Saudi ties.

Obama said in a statement that as a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions,

He said 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.

Also former U.S.President George W. Bush described Abdullah as “A wise and reliable ally, helping our nations build on a strategic relationship”.

(dpa/NAN)