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ARAB NATIONS ANNOUNCE THREE-DAY MOURNING AS KING ABDULLAH TRIBUTES CONTINUE

KUWAIT, Jan 24 — Expressions of sorrow over the passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia continue to pour in over the leader of the revered Muslim nation who was laid to rest earlier on Friday, with most Arab nations announcing three days of mourning.

In the United Arab Emirates, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum expressed heartfelt sorrow to the Saudi, Arab and Muslim people on the tragic loss.

King Abdullah is “a man who captivated the hearts of his people and Muslims around the world due to his wisdom and dedication to serving the faith and Muslims,” read his comment on social networking website, twitter.

Other UAE officials followed suit in their expressions of grief, with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Gen Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan dispatching a cable of condolences to the newly-enthroned King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Earlier, a high-level delegation of senior UAE officials attended funeral proceedings on behalf of their President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

These included Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qassemi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman Sheikh Humaid bin Rashed Al-Nuaimi and Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al-Qassemi.

On behalf of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, whose country announced three days of mourning, Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs Fahad bin Mahmoud Al-Saeed also attended the funeral.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum’s cable of condolences addressed to King Salman bin Abdulaziz prayed that the late king’s soul be blessed and that solace be felt by the Saudi royal family and people during this difficult time.

The message also wished success for the new king amid his current role, and prosperity for the Kingdom.

Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, whose government also announced a three-day mourning, said that late King Abdullah “devoted his life in the service of Islam and Muslims, and created a nation that is a shining beacon of civilization.”

Late King Abdullah was “the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the King who has a warm place in the hearts of many and who lived a life where every minute was a time of generosity, good deeds and charity,” he said in a similar cable.

“Across every Islamic nation we see his legacy, where he gave people hope, enabling them to live a life of stability and prosperity.” Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir said that the late king “remained courageous in his stances, and was an adamant advocate of the affairs of the Arab and Islamic worlds – humanitarian issues in particular.”

In his own cable, he also paid homage to King Abdullah’s “commended efforts on tackling terrorism and encouraging dialogue amongst cultures, faiths and civilizations.”

Other Arab nations to have announced three days of mourning include Jordan, Morocco and the Palestinian territories.

In Jordan, the Cabinet instructed mosques across the country to hold prayers for the deceased in honour of the late influential leader.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, cut short his stay and proceeded immediately to Riyadh to attend funeral proceedings upon hearing of the tragic loss.

Mosques across Morocco also held prayers for the deceased according to the instructions of King Mohammad VI.

Moroccan flags will be flown at half-mast locally and across embassies and consulates abroad for three days, according to a royal court statement.

“This call comes to express the (Moroccan) King and his people’s solidarity with the Saudi people over this tragic loss of a noble leader and king, who was bound to Morocco by honest and honourable relations,” said a spokesperson on behalf of the monarch.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told King Salman bin Abdulaziz that, “we have lost an unparalleled Arab and Islamic leader who stood in support of global justice and equality.

“He (King Abdullah) was the source of wisdom for all Arabs, and was the bearer of a comprehensive vision for the world, particularly on the issues of inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue,” he said in a cable of condolences.

“The Palestinian people will never forget his courageous brotherly stances in support of the just Palestinian cause and Jerusalem,” he added.

In Lebanon, a group of senior officials including Prime Minister Tammam Salam and parliament speaker Nabih Berri all departed the country to offer their condolences in person.

The country’s Supreme Islamic Shia Council Vice-President Imam Sheikh Abdulamir Qoblan applauded King Abdullah as “an Arab leading symbol, who contributed greatly to the region’s development and prosperity.

He also condemned the late king’s generosity and charity extended to Muslim nations, and reiterated his support of the Palestinian struggle for their rightful land.

Libya’s interim government, after expressing sorrow over the loss, expressed hopes of prosperity to the Saudi people in the leadership of the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The Tunis-based Arab Interior Minister’s Council described the event as a “tragic and painful loss” of a man who was “devoted to bridging Arab nations and defending their causes.”

Meanwhile, the Cairo-based Organisation of Arab People and Parliaments paid homage to King Abdullah as a man who gave his life to serving Islamic communities, while at the same time, not neglecting his duties at home.

Iraqi parliament speaker Saleem Al-Jabbouri also spoke highly of the late king’s “stances against discrimination and fundamentalism.

“He was a historic leader, whose wisdom enabled him to acknowledge the dilemmas of the region, and he worked hard to encourage the unity of word and position,” Al-Jabbouri said in a statement.

In the wider international community, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government announced that its national flag would be flown at half-mast for one day, described the late king as “a brother” who was “committed to serving his people.”

King Abdullah also carried out “huge efforts in order to resolve issues of mutual interest (with Turkey) in our region and Islamic world – particularly the Palestinian issue and the Syrian crisis,” Erdogan said in a statement published on his official website.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy commended the king’s commitment to peace and encouraging inter-faith dialogue.

He also praised the late king’s contribution to the Middle East peace process in a cable addressed to the newly enthroned King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The German government said that the king’s “balanced and clever policies on the Middle East and international affairs deserve respect and admiration.”

Speaking on behalf of Chancellor Angela Merkel, her spokesperson went to further mention his inter-faith dialogue efforts.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Embassy in Kuwait announced that as of Saturday it would be welcoming those wishing to pay their respects over the next three days.

The embassy doors will be open to mourners from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., it added in a statement.

SOURCE: KUNA