World leaders gather to pay respects to late Saudi King Abdullah
After the sudden demise of Saudi King Abdullah on Friday, World leaders have started traveling to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects.
Soon after accession, he appointed heirs and ministers including a prince from the third generation of the ruling dynasty. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran will represent the country. The visitors will also try to measure the mood, characters and intentions of the new king.
Affected by a lung infection, King Abdullah was admitted to hospital before passing away and he was buried later that day. US President Barack Obama said that King Abdullah was “always candid and had the courage of his convictions”. Shortening his trip in India, Obama has cancelled his visit to Taj Mahal as he will have to reach Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to meet the new king.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon praised king Abdullah’s work to promote dialogue among the world’s faiths. Human rights groups said that the human rights record of Saudi Arabia has been dismal since Abdullah took charge and Salman was urged to act to protect women’s rights and freedom of speech.
Spokesman Neil Durkin of Amnesty International said that the human rights legacy of Abdullah was disastrous and it was an endemic torture in police cells and prisons. However, within a few hours of assuming the throne, King Salman vowed to protect the policies followed by his predecessors. “We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” he announced.