Saudi Arabia bids last farewell to Crown Prince Sultan with tears and prayers

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques leads worshippers for prayers over the body of the late crown prince

World leaders attend funeral ceremony

Second Deputy Premier Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz: Prince Sultan was best brother, leader and friend

Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz always embodies the sublime meaning of loyalty

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud performed funeral prayers for Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, after Asr prayer at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.

With the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the funeral prayers were also performed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani; Emir of the State of Qatar; Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait; Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai; Djibouti's President Ismael Omar Guelleh; Senegalese President Abdullah Wade; Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir; President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine; Comoros' President Dr. Ikililou Dhoinine; Chairman of Egyptian Military Council Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi; Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa; Lebanese Premier Najib Mikati; Malaysian Premier Mohammed Najib bin Tun Abdulrazzak; Prince Rashid Bin Al-Hassan, Brother of King of Morocco; Mauritanian Premier Dr. Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf; Yemeni Vice President Lt.-Gen. Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi; representatives of sisterly Arab countries; Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); Secretary General of Arab League (AL) and Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member Countries.

Led by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Senior Ulema Commission and Religious Research and Ifta Department, the funeral prayers were also performed by Prince Bandar bin Abdulaziz; Prince Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General; Prince Mit'eb bin Abdulaziz; Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz; Prince Badr bin Abdulaziz; Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz; Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Region; Prince Mamdouh bin Abdulaziz; Prince Abdul-Ilah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Interior; Prince Mashhour bin Abdulaziz; Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; a number of other princes; sons of the late Crown Prince; Sheiks; ministers, ambassadors; senior civil and military officials and a group of citizens.

Following the funeral prayers, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received condolences from the leaders who performed the funeral prayers for the soul of the late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Then, the body of late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was buried at Riyadh-based Al-'Awd cemetery.

Ceremonies to bury the body of the late Crown Prince was attended by Prince Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General; Prince Mit'eb bin Abdulaziz; Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz; Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior; Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Region; Prince Mamdouh bin Abdulaziz; Prince Abdul-Ilah bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the King; Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Interior; Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; a number of other princes; sons of the late Crown Prince; Sheiks; Ministers; senior civil and military officials and a group of citizens.

The funeral prayers in absentia were also performed after Asr (afternoon) regular prayers for the soul of late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in all mosques throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, stressed that the late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, was the best brother and friend.

This came in remarks to the Saudi Television at Riyadh Airbase Reception Hall. Prince Naif said that Prince Sultan was a noble brother, greatest leader and best reference in state matters.

'Prince Sultan used to say yes for what is right, and no for what is wrong. Although Prince Sultan was an elder brother, he used to treat us as friends. Prince Sultan used to encourage us to express ourselves and to voice our points of view,' Prince Naif said.

'What is more important is his devoted loyalty to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Prince Sultan gives first priority to the royal directives, considering whatsoever order issued by the King should be carried out,' Prince Naif added.

'Emanating from our keenness on the health of King Abdullah, we appealed to him not to go to the airport nor attend the funeral prayer. However, his love to Sultan was the main motivation for him to overcome the situation,' Prince Naif said.

Prince Naif prayed Allah Almighty to bless the soul of Prince Sultan.

World leaders, both friends and foes, poured into Riyadh to offer condolences on the death of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, who was buried Tuesday in a somber ceremony in the presence of Saudi King Abdullah.

Amid the flashing of cameras, Sultan’s sons and brothers carried his corpse, swathed in a brown shroud, on a bier through a sea of mourners in Riyadh’s sprawling Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque for funeral prayers before burial.

The body of Prince Sultan, who died in New York last week, was flown back to Riyadh Monday, accompanied by his younger brother and Riyadh Governor Prince Salman, who may now play a more prominent role in the conservative Islamic kingdom.

Among the mourners who went forward to greet King Abdullah after the prayer recital was Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, whose country is a regional rival of Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah is expected to name a new crown prince to replace late Prince Sultan as the kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Naïf, is tipped as the next in line.

The death of Crown Prince Sultan, who was also defense minister, might also lead to a wider Cabinet reshuffle.

Saudi Arabia, which dominates world oil markets and holds profound influence over Muslims through its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites in Makkah and Madinah, faces turbulence in its neighbors and a confrontation with regional rival Iran.

King Abdullah was chief mourner at the mosque, where Saudis in red-and-white headdresses were crammed between dozens of pillars behind the kneeling grand mufti as he led prayers.

The Saudi monarch, who left hospital recently after a back operation, remained seated for the prayers and wore a surgical mask over his face.

From Egypt – where protesters, backed by the army, ousted Hosni Mubarak earlier this year – military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi flew in for the funeral, Saudi state television Al-Ekhbariya reported.

It is Tantawi’s first trip abroad since he took power in February following the downfall of Mubarak.

Jordan’s King Abdullah, whose government declared a day of mourning Tuesday, also landed in Saudi Arabia, as well as Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Gulf leaders Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa were all present in Riyadh for the funeral of Sultan.

SPA reported that Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also joined the mourners in Riyadh.

Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri flew in Monday to join the royal family in receiving the prince’s body as it arrived from New York. Hariri was also present at the funeral.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, heading an official delegation, also attended the funeral Tuesday.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were likewise among world leaders heading to Riyadh to offer condolences.

Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa arrived in Riyadh as the Saudi news agency SPA reported that London-based Rifaat Assad, exiled uncle of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, had flown in.