Obama hails late Saudi King as ‘candid’ and courageous leader

President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, share a light moment as they meet, Tuesday, June 29, 2010, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday expressed his personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people on the death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Obama hailed the late king as a “candid” and courageous leader.

Following is the full text of President Barack Obama's statement:

“It is with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah's life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.

He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region. At home, King Abdullah's vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.

As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah's perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions.

One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah's legacy.”

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