Leaders Express Sympathy at Crown Prince’s Passing
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2011 U.S. leaders expressed their sympathy to the Saudi royal family and all Saudi Arabians on the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz yesterday.
President Barack Obama called the prince a valued friend to the United States.
The crown prince died at a New York hospital yesterday. He was 80.
Sultan served as the Saudi minister of defense and aviation since 1962. “Crown Prince Sultan dedicated himself to the welfare and security of his people and country,” Obama said in a statement. “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 [Franklin D.] Roosevelt and King Abd al-Aziz Al Saud.”
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said the crown prince transformed Saudi Arabia’s armed forces into a modern and highly capable military. “He was a good friend and partner of the United States, and worked to further cooperation between our two militaries in order to better confront many shared security challenges,” he said in a statement. The secretary is traveling in Asia.
Vice President Joe Biden said the crown prince will be remembered for championing relations with America and for his philanthropy at home. He said the prince funded housing and medical care for the kingdom’s neediest citizens and scientific research on water and desertification, among other important causes.