Skip to main content

Biden-led delegation pays condolence call in Saudi Arabia

From Rima Maktabi, CNN
updated 5:00 PM EDT, Thu October 27, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The delegation's visit follows the death of the Saudi crown prince
  • Joining the vice president are Sen. McCain and CIA Director Petraeus
  • The one-day visit includes talks with Saudi royalty

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- Vice President Joe Biden led a U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia Thursday to offer condolences for the death last week of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The delegation, which included veteran Sen. John McCain and CIA Director David Petraeus, arrived and left on the same day.

It met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz and other members of the Saudi royalty in Riyadh, the capital.

Nayef is considered the most likely candidate to become the new crown prince and eventual successor to King Abdullah.

A White House official, speaking on condition of not being identified, said the top-level U.S. delegation was "a symbol of the importance we place on our enduring and strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia and on our friendship with Crown Prince Sultan."

"Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is based on mutual strategic interests and strong individual bonds," the official said. "President (Barack) Obama and King Abdullah have deep personal respect for one another. We expect our strong relationship to continue as it has for many decades."

Crown Prince Sultan died Saturday in a U.S. hospital where he reportedly was being treated for cancer. A funeral was held Tuesday in Riyadh.

In a statement Saturday, Obama said he learned of the crown prince's death "with great regret."

"As Minister of Defense and Aviation for almost 50 years, Crown Prince Sultan dedicated himself to the welfare and security of his people and country and was a valued friend of the United States," Obama's statement said. "He was a strong supporter of the deep and enduring partnership between our two countries forged almost seven decades ago in the historic meeting between President Roosevelt and King Abd al-Aziz Al Saud."

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT