Skip to main content

Global reactions to the death of the Saudi King

World leaders give their condolences as many prepare to attend the late King's funeral
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud onboard the latter's plane at Cairo airport on June 20, 2014 (AFP)

Following the news Friday that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died, many world leaders have issued statments of condolences and are rescheduling their plans to attend his funeral which is due to take place later today.

UK

Tony Blair issued a statement saying: "I am very sad indeed to hear of the passing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.“I knew him well and admired him greatly. Despite the turmoil of events in the region around him, he remained a stable and sound ally, was a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future." 

 

USA

US President Barack Obama on Thursday paid tribute to late Saudi King Abdullah as a bold leader and valued friend who made an enduring contribution to Middle East peace.
 
"As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions," Obama said in a written statement soon after the royal court announced the king's death.
 
"As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah's perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship," said Obama. 
 
"The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah's legacy."

Turkey

Turkey’s president has postponed a tour of African countries in order to attend the funeral of Saudi monarch, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, in Riyadh.
 
Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists that his program in Africa would continue later.
 
According to the president’s statement, he will leave for Djibouti after the Saudi king’s funeral.

Egypt

President Sisi of Egypt has expressed his sadness over the death of the monarch. 
 
“The Egyptian people will not forget the historic stands of King Abdullah towards Egypt and its people,” a presidential statement said.
 
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world have lost one of its great leaders.”
 
According to Gulf News Egypt is to declare seven days of mourning to honour the passing of the King. 
 

Israel

Israel's former president Shimon Peres Friday said the death of King Abdullah was "a real loss for the peace of the Middle East".
 
"He was an experienced leader and a wise king. He had the courage ... to stand up and introduce a peace programme for the Middle East," said Peres, referring to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
 
"I'm not sure that we could have accepted all the items in the peace process but the spirit, the strength and the wisdom invested in it" led to a process that serves still as "a powerful base for making peace," the former Israeli president told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
 

Iran

Iran offered condolences Friday to the people and government of Saudi Arabia upon the death of King Abdullah and said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would travel to Riyadh.
 
In a statement on its foreign ministry website, Iran said Zarif "will take part in an official ceremony" in the Saudi capital on Saturday, without giving further details.
 
Iran and Saudi, seen as the region's foremost Shiite and Sunni Muslim powers, have had troubled relations in recent years after taking different sides in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
 
Iran has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh supported Sunni rebels trying to topple him.
 
Since the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, Iran has engaged in a diplomatic push with Saudi Arabia. 
 
However relations have soured in recent months over the falling price of oil.
 
Both countries are members of the OPEC cartel but Iranian officials have expressed frustration at Saudi Arabia for not taking steps to cut supply.

Phillipines

 
The Philippines on Friday hailed deceased Saudi King Abdullah as a fighter of extremism who worked to improve conditions for Filipino migrant workers in the kingdom.
 
"The late King was a courageous, generous, and visionary leader who introduced policy changes in education and infrastructure. He was a champion in fighting extremism," the foreign department said in a statement.
 
Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, fleeing high rates of poverty and joblessness at home to look for better job opportunities.
 
"The King's receptiveness to the concerns of the Filipino government helped improve the welfare and prospects of our countrymen in Saudi Arabia," President Benigno Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.

Jordan

 
King Abdullah II of Jordan and other Middle Eastern dignitaries left the Davos World Economic Forum on Friday, flying home early on news of the death of the Saudi King Abdullah, event organisers told AFP.
 
The Jordanian king was set to address the world's financial and political elite in a speech at 1315 GMT, but the address was cancelled, WEF planners said.
 
Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, the half-brother to King Abdullah, also left the posh ski resort, cancelling a Friday morning appearance alongside ministers from Canada and Germany.
 

Reactions on social media

Reactions of people on social media have been less than flattering with many people pointing to the Kingdom's catalogue of human rights abuses and the cynacism that anything is likely to change.