London, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the world yesterday mourned the passing of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Saudi Inspector General, after a long illness.
In a statement issued by the Saudi Royal Court yesterday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, announced, with deep sorrow and grief, the death of his brother and faithful Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz whilst receiving medical treatment in the US. The Royal Court also offered its condolences to the people of Saudi Arabia, and its prayers to Almighty Allah to bestow His mercy and forgiveness upon the Crown Prince. The body of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz is expected to be returned to Saudi Arabia late Monday.
The death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, known as the Sultan al-Khair [Sultan of Virtue], has been mourned across the world, and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz has received condolences from numerous world leaders.
US President Barack Obama offered condolences to Saudi Arabia following the death of the Sultan al-Khair, calling Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz a “valued friend” who helped cement ties between allies.
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.”
Whilst US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also offered her “deepest condolences…to King Abdullah and the Saudi people” adding that “he [Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz] will be missed.”
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.”
As for Russia, President Dimitry Medvedev also expressed his country’s deep condolences on the death of the Saudi Crown Prince. The Russian President said “we received with great sorrow the news of the death of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, and we express our deep condolences and sincere sympathy to the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
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.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also expressed his sadness upon hearing of the death of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, saying “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the Kingdom and its people at this sad time.” Hague said “he [Crown Prince Sultan] served the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many years with great dignity and dedication. His contribution to the prosperity and development of the Kingdom will long be remembered.”
Whilst Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, sent a personal letter of condolence to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. A royal spokesman said: “the Prince of Wales sent a personal letter of condolence to the King of Saudi Arabia expressing his deep sadness at the news.”
However the Saudi Crown Prince’s passing was felt even more strongly in the Middle East. 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.”
Abbas stressed that “we will remember with gratitude, pride, and appreciation the Crown Prince’s positions, commitment, and support to our people” adding that “with his death; Palestine has lost a dear and strong supporter.”
Whilst Chairman of the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi telephoned Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to express his deep condolences and sincere sympathy on the death of the Saudi Crown Prince.
President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also extended his heartfelt condolences to King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, the Al Saud family, and the Saudi people. He said that Crown Prince Sultan had led a full life dedicated to serving his country, and the Arab and Islamic nation.
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.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and the people of Saudi Arabia, received condolences from across the Arab and Islamic world, including from King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Mohammed VI of Morocco, as well as from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
King Abdullah II of Jordan marked the passing of Crown Prince Sultan with a minute’s silence during the inauguration of the World Economic Forum meeting that is being held in the country. He said “Jordan, which holds Prince Sultan in high esteem, commends his service to the Kingdom and Arab and Islamic causes.
Whilst UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that he learned of the passing of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz with “great sadness.” The UN Secretary-General said that the Crown Prince had played a “significant role” in Saudi Arabia for many years, adding that he was respected around the world for his “wisdom and statesmanship.”
Organization of the Islamic Cooperation [OIC] Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sent a cable of condolence to the Saudi monarch in which he mourned the passing of “one of the great sagacious leaders of the Islamic Ummah, who had devoted his generosity-marked life in the service of his nation and the Islamic Ummah.”
The passing of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz was met with particular sadness and grief within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah al-Sheikh sent a message of condolence to King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and prayed that Almighty Allah would grant the late prince mercy, forgiveness, and reward him for his devoted service to Islam, the Islamic Ummah, and his homeland.
The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars also expressed its deep condolences on the passing of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz. The Council’s Secretary-General, Sheikh Fahd Bin Saad al-Majed, said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Ummah had lost one of their “sincere leaders who defended their rights all over the world, providing relief and emergency assistance to them, and supporting their Islamic organizations and centers.”
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.”