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World leaders converge on Riyadh to pay tribute to King Abdullah - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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King Salman (center R), receives world leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on January 24, 2015. (AP Photo/SPA)

King Salman (center R), receives world leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on January 24, 2015. (AP Photo/SPA)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Riyadh witnessed an unprecedented gathering of international dignitaries on Saturday, as world leaders gathered in the Saudi capital to pay their respects to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz on the passing of his brother King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

King Salman received the visitors at the Al-Salam Palace in Riyadh, along with Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif.

Some of the world leaders and royalty in attendance included French President François Hollande, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the heir to the British throne Prince Charles and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the rulers of the UAE, King Felipe VI of Spain, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

US President Barack Obama is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia later this week following a three-day official visit to India, which he will cut short to pay his respects to the departed Saudi monarch.

Speaking in a televised address before he left the Saudi capital, Egyptian President Sisi said the world had “lost a loyal and trustworthy man” in King Abdullah.

“The Arab world has lost a man of wisdom and honor. I wish with great love to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz success in carrying on this legacy, and he will be more than able to fulfil it,” Sisi said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Royal Court announced on Saturday King Salman had designated Sunday an official public holiday, including for schools and higher educational establishments, in order to allow Saudi citizens greater ease in offering condolences and taking oaths of allegiance throughout the country.