Saudi King Abdullah dies, replaced by Salman
KABUL (Pajhwok): Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, suffering from pneumonia and breathing problems, died on Friday at the age 90, the royal court said.
He was replaced by Crown Prince Salman, a statement from the court said. The late monarch’s half-brother Moqren was nominated as crown prince.
Hospitalised in December with pneumonia and breathing with the aid of a tube, Abdullah would be laid after Juma prayers. Salman had been representing the king at most recent public events.
“Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1am,” the state television reported.
Abdullah, who ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2005, has been a close American ally. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, saluted the late king's commitment to close US-Saudi relations.
“As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast belief in the importance of the US-Saudi relationship as a force for stability in the Middle East and beyond,” Obama said in a statement.
During his rule, the Saudi economy flourished, deregulation was introduced and women were given some rights. Abdullah tried to shape the Middle East by countering the influence of Iran.
Born in Riyadh in 1924, he was the son of King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Abdullah was made crown prince in 1982 when his half-brother Fahd took over s king.
For the first time, he gave women seats on the Shura Council, which advises the king and government. He promised women would be allowed to vote and run in 2015 municipal council polls.
Under the monarch, the Arab world's biggest economy witnessed a fivefold increase. He set store by using the oil wealth to boost Saudi Arabia's economy.
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