SFA to pay respects to King Abdullah

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario will personally convey the Philippine government’s condolences and sympathy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the death of King Abdullah bin Adbulaziz Al Saud.

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A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Sunday that the secretary will proceed to the oil-rich kingdom to pay his respects to the late king.

This came after Washington announced that US President Barack Obama will cut short his state visit to India next week to personally condole with the Saudi Arabia government and its people.

The late king is an important ally of the United States in its fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

Filipinos also hold a special degree of respect for Abdullah, who aided a number of convicted Filipinos in his country raise the blood money needed to regain their freedom.

The latest he extended help on was on the case of Dondon Lanuza, who was saved from death row when Abdullah donated for his blood money.

Earlier, the department described Abdullah as “a courageous, generous, and visionary leader who introduced policy changes in education and infrastructure” and who was a champion in fighting extremism.

“Under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia strengthened its contributions as a positive force in the global economy,” the DFA said.

“The King’s passing is not only a profound loss for the Kingdom and the Islamic world, but also for the community of responsible nations. The Philippines stands in solidarity with the government and the people of Saudi Arabia during this time of national mourning,” the statement added.

Abdullah died on Friday morning, weeks after he was admitted to the hospital. He was 90.

His 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, succeeded him. Abdullah was the fifth of his brothers to take the throne and became king in 2005.

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