Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-In a final gesture of love and respect, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia yesterday laid the body of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz to rest during a solemn funeral that was attended by Arab and Islamic leaders from across the world. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz participated in the funeral prayers for Prince Sultan which were held at the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh, and attended by a number of prominent Arab and Islamic leaders.
Hundreds of men in flowing white robes and red-checkered head dresses packed the mosque for the state funeral of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. King Abdullah was chief mourner at the mosque which was filled with mourners, crammed between dozens of pillars behind the kneeling Grand Mufti, who led the funeral prayers.
The octogenarian Saudi monarch, who left hospital on Saturday night after a back operation last week, remained seated for the prayers and wore a surgical mask over his face.
Guests at the funeral service, including the president of Afghanistan, the Syrian vice-president and the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, paid condolences to King Abdullah as they filed out of the prayer hall.
Prince Sultan died in New York Saturday after an unspecified illness. He had served as Minister of Defense and Aviation since 1962 and is credited with modernizing the Saudi armed forces.
Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz described Prince Sultan as a loving brother and a great leader, telling Saudi Television that “he [Prince Sultan] was a refuge for us during times of difficulties.”
Whilst Prince Turki Bin Sultan, son of the departed Crown Prince, issued a statement on this occasion, paying tribute to his father. He said “this day will be unforgettable in the history of the Kingdom, when King Abdullah and the people of Saudi Arabia lost a great visionary, leader, and reformer.”
Prince Turki Bin Sultan, deputy minister of culture and information for media affairs, praised the Crown Prince’s achievements, and his contributions to Arab, Islamic, and international affairs, as well as his humanitarian and philanthropic works.
More than 100 foreign dignitaries from 27 countries filled the mosque to take part in the funeral prayers for Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz.