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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 516-12
June 19, 2012

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta’s Statement on Saudi Arabia Trip

            “I am honored to be able to lead the United States delegation to Saudi Arabia, where we will convey our condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia on the death of Crown Prince Nayif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. 

            “I was deeply saddened to learn of the crown prince's passing over the weekend.  During his nearly four decades as Minister of Interior, Crown Prince Nayif worked tirelessly for the protection of the Kingdom and the Saudi people.  His visionary leadership and courage were instrumental to the gains we have made together against terrorism and extremism, and helped save Saudi and American lives.  He played a pivotal role in strengthening the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  I personally had the opportunity to meet with him in Riyadh at the Ministry of Interior and came away impressed at his dedication to his country and his commitment to working with us to combat terrorism. 

            “When I visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this week, I will express the condolences of the American people on this loss, reaffirm my commitment to our strong security partnership, and express my hope that this partnership will endure as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Crown Prince Nayif.”