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Seychelles President James Michel releases tribute to late ‘great leader’ Saudi King Abdullah

Victoria, Seychelles | January 24, 2015, Saturday @ 07:39 in National » DIPLOMACY | By: Hajira Amla | Views: 2261
Seychelles President James Michel releases tribute to late ‘great leader’ Saudi King Abdullah

The president of the Seychelles, James Michel, has described Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud as a man of “great conviction” and a leader who facilitated a number of reforms in the conservative Islamic Middle Eastern state. President Michel also conveyed his country’s best wishes to the new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, saying he was confident that the new Saudi leader “would continue to cultivate King Abdullah’s great legacy”. (Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The president of the Seychelles, James Michel, has described Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud as a man of “great conviction” and a leader who facilitated a number of reforms in the conservative Islamic Middle Eastern state.

The president of the Indian Ocean archipelago said this in a message of condolence to the government, the royal family and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to a press statement issued by the Office of the President on Friday afternoon.

Tributes have been pouring in from around the world for the late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, whose death was announced in the early hours of Friday morning. The Saudi king was believed to be around 90 years of age and was admitted to hospital in December with pneumonia.

According to his country’s traditions, the king was buried yesterday afternoon in an unmarked grave, as was his brother and predecessor King Fahd, who died in 2005.

President Michel also conveyed his country’s best wishes to the new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, saying he was confident that the new Saudi leader “would continue to cultivate King Abdullah’s great legacy”.

King Salman, the late King Abdullah’s half-brother, is ascending to the throne at a time when oil, the principal source of foreign exchange for the rich nation’s economy, has plummeted to its lowest levels since the 2008 global economic crisis as a result of the Saudi government’s refusal to lower production in the face of rising U.S. output.

Saudi Arabia produces around 9.5 million barrels of crude oil a day, amounting to around a tenth of global supply.

In his first public address as king, the 79-year-old called for unity among Muslims and said there would be no change in the kingdom's direction.

"We will remain with God's strength attached to the straight path that this state has walked since its establishment by King Abdul Aziz bin al-Saud, and by his sons after him," King Salman said in a televised broadcast.

With its dismal human and women’s rights record, and a looming threat posed by the ever-encroaching Islamic State terror group, many international observers will be hoping that the new Saudi Arabian ruler will push for more reforms, but with reports surfacing of King Salman’s advancing ill health, change may still be another ruler away for the kingdom’s subjects.

Relations with Seychelles

With Seychelles on the brink of deeper bilateral relations with the Saudi Arabian kingdom last year, the accession of the new king is not likely to affect diplomatic ties.

In August 2014, the first Seychelles ambassador was accredited to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dick Esparon, who said at the time that Seychelles' accreditation to Saudi Arabia would accelerate negotiations for a bilateral air service agreement, which began in late 2012.

A Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the two countries is also likely to be signed soon and further cooperation is expected in the areas of tourism and foreign direct investment.

In his message to the new king, President Michel said he was looking forward to working with King Salman towards reinforcing relations between the two nations.

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Tags: President James Michel, Dick Esparon, Saudi Arabia

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