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03.08.2005 General News

President and Veep mourns with Saudi Arabia


Accra, Aug. 3, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor, on Wednesday consoled the Government and people of oil rich Saudi Arabia, over the death of King Fahd and exhorted them to go through the pain of mourning with calm.

"I speak for Ghana, I speak for myself", he said, when he signed a book of condolence in memory of the late King at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Accra at 1100 hours, followed by Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama at 1130 hours.

President Kufuor said: " It is a sad day when a great human being dies everywhere, especially when it involves a leader of a strategic nation in the world like Saudi Arabia." He said the Kingdom was central in global affairs and well endowed with oil.

The country he said was also blessed with the succession of wise leaders including the King, who contributed to world peace during his reign.

"He was the keeper of the holiest cities of Muslims," he said in apparent reference to Mecca and Medina where Muslims throughout the world pay the annual pilgrimage (Hajj).

President Kufuor said it behoves the rest of the world to show sympathy with Saudi Arabians.

Mr Abu- Al Hamayal, the Saudi Ambassador, expressed gratitude for the concern and sympathy Ghana had shown to his country and pledged to deepen bilateral relations during his tour of duty.

Alhaji Mahama described the death of King Fahd as a great loss to Muslims and the world at large. He said the late Leader was very sympathetic and supporter of Islam.

"His death was the will of God and as Muslims we accept these things."

On Tueday the Vice President joined Muslims in Accra to say special prayers in memory of King Fahd, who died on Monday from respiratory problems.

The National Chief Imam, Nuru Sharabutu, led a number of Muslims comprising diplomats, chiefs and the clergy for the "Salatul Ghaib", special prayers for a dead person, whose body is not lying in state. In Saudi Arabia, prayers were said for King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz on Tuesday afternoon at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh, after which he was buried at Al-Oud cemetery amidst tight security.

Newly crowned King Abdullah led the thousands of mourners. According to medical sources King Fahd, believed to be 84 years old had been in ill health for years and passed away in a hospital at dawn on Monday.

The King had been admitted to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, late May for "medical tests".

Fahd took charge in 1982 of a vast Kingdom, which is the world's largest petroleum exporter and holds a quarter of global oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty dates back to the 18th century, when "Lord of the Desert" Mohammad bin Saud joined forces with an austere Islamic reformer, Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, and set about propagating by the sword a return to pure Islam. JA/BDB