World leaders in Saudi Arabia to pay tribute to late king

By The Citizen

World leaders have gathered in Saudi Arabia to pay their respects following the death of King Abdullah on Friday. British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande are among those in the capital, Riyadh.

A US delegation, led by President Barack Obama, will arrive on Tuesday. The dignitaries from more than 10 countries have met with the new ruler, King Salman. He has pledged continuity in the country’s foreign and energy policies. The new king moved swiftly to appoint heirs and ministers, including one prince from the ruling dynasty’s third generation.

The BBC’s Jonny Dymond says the long list of dignitaries travelling to Riyadh is testament to Saudi Arabia’s global standing. Iran is being represented by its Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. The UK’s Prince Charles, King Felipe VI of Spain and Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik are among the royals offering their condolences. Mr Obama also called King Salman ahead of his visit to “personally express his sympathies” for the death of King Abdullah, the White House said. The former king died on Friday, weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection. Gulf leaders, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the funeral held on the same day. BBC