The most fawning quotes about King Abdullah

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died aged 90, and world leaders are falling over themselves to praise him.

He has been succeeded by his half-brother Prince Salman, 79, who will now rule a country where women are banned from driving, political bloggers are publicly flogged, homosexuality is punishable by death, and public beheadings are regularly carried out.

Prince Charles is set to attend the funeral of Abdullah - a man he counted as a personal friend - in Riyadh later today, while flags above Buckingham Palace flew at half-mast out of respect for the dead king.



Here are some of the international responses to Abdullah's death:

Very saddened by his death, I had met him several times and he's going to leave a big legacy but a big loss as well.

He was a great leader implemented lots of reforms at home and in a very discreet way he was a strong advocate of women, it was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country.

But I discussed that issued with him several times and he was a strong believer.

  • Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund

On the back of what Ms Lagarde said, Abdullah did, in 2011, declare women could stand - and vote - in local elections due to take place this year. But they will not be able to drive to the polling station.

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. He was a staunch advocate of inter faith relations. He founded Kaust, the science and technology university where women and men are educated equally.

And today there are more women in higher education than men. He allowed thousands to be educated abroad people who have experience of the world and will play a big part in the future of the country. He appointed women Ministers. He invested in renewable energy. And of course he launched the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which has stood the test of time as a potential basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestine issue.

He was loved by his people and will be deeply missed.

  • Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and special envoy for the Middle East quartet


I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abd Al Aziz Al Saud.

He will be remembered for his long years of service to the Kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Saudi Royal Family and the people of the Kingdom at this sad time.

I sincerely hope that the long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue and that we can continue to work together to strengthen peace and prosperity in the world.

  • David Cameron, UK prime minister

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 US-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.

  • Barack Obama, US president

As President, I found His Majesty always to be a wise and reliable ally, helping out nations build on a strategic relationship and enduring friendship.

  • George HW Bush, former US president

If you were looking for a repudiation of public executions or a dismal human rights record, it's not there.

In a statement issued to this afternoon, Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said:

The passing of King Abdullah mustn't distract us from the reality of the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps a fitting legacy to mark King Abdullah death would be for the Saudi authorities to demonstrate compassion and religious tolerance and release blogger Raif Badawi who is facing 1,000 lashes and ten years in jail for 'insulting Islam' and 'disobeying the ruler'.

"After the tributes to King Abdullah have been paid we need to hear the UK speaking out about the urgent human rights reforms that Saudi Arabia so desperately requires.

More: [Who beheads more people: Isis or the government of Saudi Arabia?]4

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