Residents attend the funeral of Crown Prince Nayef inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca June 17, 2012. Saudi Arabiaâ€™s Crown Prince Nayef, a hawkish interior minister who crushed al Qaeda in the worldâ€™s top oil exporter, died on Saturday eight months after becoming heir to the throne, paving the way for a more reform-minded successor.
World leaders and envoys yesterday expressed their condolences over the death of Prince Naif. They included US President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
President Obama said: â€œIt was with great regret that I learned of the passing of Crown Prince Naif.â€ He said for decades, Crown Prince Naif had served as minister of interior and dedicated himself to the security of Saudi Arabia as well as security throughout the region.
Under his leadership, the United States and Saudi Arabia developed a strong and effective partnership in the fight against terrorism â€” one that has saved countless American and Saudi lives.
â€œCrown Prince Naif also strongly supported the broader partnership between our two countries begun by his late father, King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, and President Roosevelt in their historic meeting in 1945. On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia.â€
US Vice President Joe Biden said: â€œI was saddened to learn of the passing of Crown Prince Naif. He made a historic contribution to the security of the Kingdom and to its strong partnership with the United States in the fight against terrorism. I was honored to be received by Crown Prince Naif in Riyadh last October and had looked forward to welcoming him to the United States. I offer my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family and the people of Saudi Arabia.â€
UN Secretary-General Ban expressed his grief on the passing away of Crown Prince Naif. He said the prince had devoted his life to promoting internal security in the Kingdom. He had also made a major contribution to the recent establishment of the UN Counter-Terrorism Center in Saudi Arabia.
Ban also conveyed his condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and to the people of Saudi Arabia.
Chinese President Hu sent a cable of condolences to King Abdullah. He said Prince Naif was keen to develop Saudi-Chinese relations and had made remarkable contributions to boosting bilateral relations. He underlined Chinaâ€™s commitment to promoting strategic and friendly ties with Saudi Arabia and expressed his willingness to exert more efforts for strengthening these relations in cooperation with King Abdullah.
On behalf of the Indian government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari sent their separate condolence messages to the king on the passing away of Crown Prince Naif.
Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom Ezzedin H. Tago told Arab News that Vice President Jejomar C. Binay would personally deliver the presidentâ€™s condolences. In his statement, Tago said that the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia received the news on the death of Crown Prince Naif with great sorrow.
â€œThis is a great loss to the Kingdom and the Islamic nation. He served his nation and people with distinction for over 50 years. I have personally witnessed his help to the Filipino community and in many other ways, especially granting clemency to some unfortunate citizens. He was a champion of peace and security, as well as a distinct philanthropist.â€
The ambassador continued: â€œOn behalf of the Philippine president and the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia, we convey our sincerest condolences to the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the royal family and the brotherly people of Saudi Arabia and pray to Allah Almighty to reward him for his deeds and elevate his status.â€
South Africaâ€™s Ambassador Mogamat Sadick Jaffer said it was â€œwith sadness and shock that we learned of the death of Crown Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. His passing away is indeed a great loss to the Saudi government and people, as his leadership will be missed. The South African government and the people extend our deep and sincere condolences to the government and people of Saudi Arabia in their hour of grief and sorrow. Our prayers are with you. May the Almighty grant Prince Naif paradise, Insha Allah.â€
Argentine Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda said: â€œI want to express the deep sadness of my country and the Argentine Embassy over such a sad news. I just would like to recall the effort and contribution of Crown Prince Naif to the stability and security of not only the countries in this region, but to those of the whole world. I offer my condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.â€
The Australian Embassy also sent its condolences. â€œThe Australian government extends its deepest condolences to the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the people of Saudi Arabia on the passing of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Crown Prince Naif, a brother of the king,â€ the embassyâ€™s political and press officer said in a statement.
Prince Naif had made a lasting contribution to Saudi Arabiaâ€™s stability and security as interior minister, a post he held since 1975, and as deputy prime minister since 2011.
â€œHe played a leading role in the Kingdomâ€™s efforts to combat extremism and safeguard regional stability, and contributed to bilateral relations with Australia, particularly in the field of regional and international peace and security. Our thoughts are with Prince Naifâ€™s family and with the people of Saudi Arabia at this time,â€ the statement said.
Austrian Ambassador Johannes Wimmer in his statement said: â€œIt was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Crown Prince Naif. He was a most respected, experienced and committed leader and statesman who served his country with true dedication.â€
He continued: â€œIn Saudi Arabia and abroad, Crown Prince Naif will be remembered for his major contribution toward promoting the Kingdomâ€™s prosperity and security. On behalf of the Republic of Austria, I would like to convey my sincerest condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the royal family and the government and people of Saudi Arabia.â€
On Saturday, the ambassadors of the US, UK, Japan and Pakistan had mourned Prince Naifâ€™s death.
A number of foreign diplomats while expressing their condolences on the death of Prince Naif also commended the late princeâ€™s contributions to the Kingdomâ€™s development and strengthen its relations with other countries.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also conveyed his condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family and Saudi people. He commended the late princeâ€™s contributions to the Arab and Islamic Ummah.
Former Kuwaiti Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Sabah commended Prince Naifâ€™s strong relations with his country and its people. â€œEverybody knows that Prince Naif was a great leader and statesman known for his wisdom and courage. He worked throughout his life to reinforce peace and security in the Arab world,â€ he said.
Egyptian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mahmoud Auf also expressed his deep sorrow over Prince Naifâ€™s death and noted the late princeâ€™s noble stances toward Egypt and Egyptian people. â€œSaudi Arabia and the Arab and Islamic Ummah have lost a great statesman, who worked not only to establish security and stability in the Kingdom but also for its educational, cultural and social progress,â€ the ambassador said.
Sri Lankan Consul General Adambawa Uthumalebbe also extended his condolences to King Abdullah and the royal family on behalf of the government and people of Sri Lanka, on the death of Crown Prince Naif â€œwho served as the minister of interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with dignity and dedication.â€