MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who acceded to the Saudi throne, on the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah, the Kremlin press service said on Friday.
Putin said the king's death was a great loss to the kingdom and Saudi people.
"The deceased king was known as a wise and consistent statesman and politician, a leader loved and respected by his people and had a deserved authority on the international scene," the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying. "His Majesty ruled the country effectively and successfully on the important stages of its development and did a lot to improve the socio-economic situation of the [Saudi] people, development of the country's public institutions and fight against terrorism at different levels."
Putin also praised King Abdallah's role on the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Russian president said that his meetings with King Abdallah in Moscow and Riyadh had been productive and "confirmed the traditional friendly nature of bilateral Russian-Saudi relations."
Putin said he was convinced that the achievements made during the king's ruling would "ensure further progress and prosperity of Saudi Arabia and consolidate regional stability and security."
King Abdullah, one of the world’s most powerful people, assumed the throne in 2005 as the country's sixth king after the death of his half-brother, King Fahd.
King Abdullah died at the age of 90 on Friday.
The monarch was taken to a hospital in Al Riyadh on December 31, where he underwent treatment. Early this month, the royal office said the head of state had lung infection.
The leaders from world countries and international organizations have sent their condolences to the people and authorities of Saudi Arabia. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: “As the driving force behind the Arab Peace Initiative, King Abdullah left a tangible legacy that can still point the way toward peace in the Middle East.”
King Abdullah's successor
His successor is his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who was appointed crown prince in June 2012.
Prince Salman is the 25th son of Abdul Aziz, known as Ibn Saud, who was the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. Prince Muqrin has been named crown prince.