British PM lauds Saudi crown prince's 'wisdom'
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the world had benefited from the "wisdom and expertise" of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, whose death was announced Saturday.
Cameron said he was "saddened" to hear of his death and offered his condolences to King Abdullah and the Saudi people.
The crown prince, aged around 86, had served as the kingdom's defence chief for nearly five decades.
"He had many friends in this country, and we have all benefited from his wisdom and expertise in international affairs over his long years of service to the kingdom," the prime minister said in a statement.
"I know that the ties between our two countries will remain strong and that we will continue to work together for peace, prosperity and justice in the world."
Crown Prince Sultan's long tenure as defence and aviation minister included the massive Al-Yamamah arms deal, a rolling programme of shipments of high-tech military hardware which represents Britain's biggest ever export contract. Heavy graft rumours have long swirled around the agreement.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said of the crown prince: "He served the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many years with great dignity and dedication. His contribution to the prosperity and development of the kingdom will long be remembered.
"I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the kingdom and its people at this sad time."
© 2011 AFP