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Xi voices sympathy over death of Saudi monarch at age 90

Updated: 2015-01-24 07:58
By Agencies In Beijing And Riyadh (China Daily)

President Xi Jinping sent a letter of condolence to Saudi Arabia's new King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Friday following the death of his predecessor, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, at the age of 90.

Xi voices sympathy over death of Saudi monarch at age 90

Xi said Abdullah had been an "old friend" of China and had contributed a lot to relations between the two countries.

China hailed Abdullah for dedicating his life to promoting national development and safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region.

Speaking at a regular news briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Abdullah 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 China-Saudi Arabia friendship."

Saudi Arabia's new king moved swiftly on Friday to name the country's interior minister as deputy crown prince, making him second-in-line to the throne, as he promised in a nationally televised speech to continue the policies of his predecessors.

His actions came as the Sunni-ruled kingdom began mourning Abdullah, who died early on Friday after nearly two decades in power.

Salman's royal decree puts Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in line to ascend to the throne after his designated successor, Crown Prince Muqrin. Mohammed is the son of Abdullah's half brother, Nayef.

"We will continue adhering to the correct policies that Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," Salman said in the speech.

Tributes to Abdullah flowed in from leaders around the world, including US President Barack Obama, who described him as "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".

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Abdullah was "an example of grounded, considered and responsible leadership", while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to Abdullah's "efforts to address regional and international challenges at a time of turmoil and rapid change".

Abdullah was expected to be buried on Friday.

Xinhua - AP

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