When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died early Friday local time at the age of 90 after suffering pneumonia, both current and past American leaders issued statements. Some referred to King Abdullah as a friend and mourned the death of Saudi Arabia's sixth absolute monarch.
President Barack Obama sent his “personal condolences and sympathies.” Part of the message read: “As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. 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. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy. May God grant him peace.”
Sen. John McCain: “King Abdullah was an important voice for reform in Saudi Arabia. He pushed for the modernization of the education system, curbed the authority of the religious police, and extended women the right to vote and run in municipal elections. ... King Abdullah's enduring legacy will continue to shape the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region for years to come.”
Former President George H.W. Bush: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and partner King Abdullah. As President, I found His Majest always to be a wise and reliable ally, helping our nations build on a strategic relationship and enduring friendship dating back to World War II.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: "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....Teresa and I send our condolences to the family of King Abdullah and to the people of Saudi Arabia and the region."
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