London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Arabia today is awaiting the arrival of the body of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Saudi Inspector General. The plane carrying the body of the crown prince is expected to arrive in Riyadh later today and is being accompanied by Riyadh Governor Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, and the sons of the departed.
This comes as the condolences for the death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz continue to pour in from across the world. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz received a telephone call from US President Barack Obama late yesterday. During the telephone conversation, President Obama asked after the King’s health, and offered his deep condolences to the Saudi monarch on the death of Crown Prince Sultan.
The White House issued a statement saying that “the president praised Crown Prince Sultan’s many contributions over the past five decades, including his critical role in building the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia” during the telephone call to Saudi King Abdullah.
The White House also announced that US Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay his condolences to the royal family on the death of Crown Prince Sultan.
In an earlier statement, US President Barack Obama said “he [Crown Prince Sultan] was a strong supporter of the deep and enduring partnership between our two countries forged almost seven decades ago” adding that he learned of the crown prince’s death with “great regret.”
The US President said “as minister of defense and aviation for almost 50 years, Crown Prince Sultan dedicated himself to the welfare and security of his people and country and was a valued friend of the United States.”
He added “On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia.”
Over 1,570,000 people searched “Google” for news about the death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, whilst international and Arab media continued to report news of the Saudi crown prince’s death since Saturday.
The British Guardian newspaper described Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz as playing a “crucial” role in the region, adding that “[Prince] Sultan was considered intelligent with innate worldly wisdom, a man on whom the king might rely.”, while the BBC described the late crown prince as a “modernizer”.
In the US, Fox News credited Crown Prince Sultan with “clos[ing] multibillion deals to establish the modern Saudi armed forces, including land, air, naval and air defense forces.”, and the Drudge Report placed a relatively large image of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz on the front page of its website, with links to news stories reporting his death, including a link to a Fox News TV report on the death of the Saudi Crown Prince.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, received condolences from across the world on the death of Crown Prince Sultan.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a personal letter of condolence to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz on the death of the crown prince. In his letter, President Sarkozy said “Prince Sultan played a crucial role in the modernization of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the field of defense. His death is a great loss to your country. Prince Sultan established relations of trust and friendship with France and gave our partnership a new dimension. With his passing, France loses a true and sincere friend.”
Whilst British Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was “saddened” to hear of the Saudi Crown Prince’s death. He said “he [Crown Prince Sultan] had many friends in this country, and we have all benefited from his wisdom and expertise in international affairs over his long years of service.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the death of Crown Prince Sultan as being a great loss to the Palestinian cause. In a letter of condolence to the Saudi monarch, Abbas said “with the death of Crown Prince Sultan, the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] and our Islamic and Arab nation has lost an outstanding leader, a wise statesman who devoted his life for the service of his homeland, religion, and all of humanity.”
Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah also paid tribute to Saudi Crown Prince Sultan, saying that Kuwait had lost a brother who had “a bright hand in charity and humanitarian work.” Kuwait said that it would mark the passing of the Saudi Crown Prince with three days of official mourning.
Whilst Tabuk Governor Prince Fahd Bin Sultan, son of the late Crown Prince, received a large number of mourners at his palace yesterday. Addressing the mourners, Prince Fahd said that his father sacrificed his life in the service of his religion and his homeland. He said “Allah Almighty has taken him [Crown Prince Sultan] back to Him, and God willing he will be rewarded for his noble deeds” adding “I offer my condolences to every person in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] and also to the people of Tabuk, which had a special place in his heart.”