POLITICS
01/22/2015 07:32 pm ET Updated Jan 22, 2015

Obama: King Abdullah Held 'Passionate Belief In The Importance' Of U.S.-Saudi Relationship

ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama released a statement Thursday on the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Obama's full statement:

It is with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations. He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region. At home, King Abdullah's vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.

As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. 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 U.S.-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.

May God grant him peace.

Abdullah came to power in 2005 after the death of his brother, King Fahd. A key ally of the United States, Saudi Arabia has participated in the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State. Obama last visited Saudi Arabia in March 2014, where he met with Abdullah to discuss Iran and Syria.

Read more on the king's death here.

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