Obama to send Biden to mourn Saudi crown prince

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz served as Saudi Arabia`s defence minister for nearly five decades.

Washington: The United States will send a delegation led by Vice President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences for the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the White House has said.

US President Barack Obama announced the visit of the delegation to ailing Saudi King Abdullah in a telephone call on Sunday, during which he also expressed his "personal condolences" to the King over his half-brother`s death.

Obama "praised Crown Prince Sultan`s many contributions over the past five decades, including his critical role in building the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia," the White House said.

"The President informed the King that a senior delegation, which will be led by Vice President Biden, will travel to Riyadh to pay condolences during the official mourning period."

The Saudi royal palace announced Sultan`s death on Saturday.

The crown prince, aged 80 according to government records, served as the oil kingpin`s defence minister for nearly five decades and had been in the United States since mid-June for medical treatment. He was operated on in July.

A half brother of King Abdullah, Sultan spent long periods abroad for undisclosed medical treatment. A Western diplomat, speaking to a news agency on condition of anonymity, said Sultan had been hooked up to life support systems at New York Presbyterian hospital and was declared "clinically dead" more than a month ago.

Obama had earlier expressed "great regret" over the death of the prince and called him a "valued friend" of the US.


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