Last updated: 27 October, 2011

US Vice President offers condolences on death of Saudi’s crown prince

US Vice President Joe Biden led a delegation to Saudi Arabia Thursday to offer US condolences on the death of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, an AFP correspondent said.

Biden, accompanied by a delegation of high-level military and civilian officials, arrived in the capital Riyadh and was greeted by Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

He also met Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Riyadh and brother of Prince Sultan, the children of the late prince and Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who later Thursday was named the new crown prince.

The White House announced Sunday that Biden would head a US delegation to the kingdom to pay respects for Prince Sultan, who died last week in New York and was buried Tuesday in Riyadh.

Biden went to the royal palace but sources in the monarch’s entourage told AFP he did not meet with King Abdullah, who was still recovering from a back operation he underwent last week in Riyadh.

The White House later issued a statement confirming the meetings and saying the princes had “thanked the vice president on behalf of King Abdullah” for the visit.

“The vice president and the princes discussed a broad range of bilateral and regional issues,” the statement said.

The princes called the delegation’s trip a “fitting tribute to Crown Prince Sultan and to the strength of the relationship between the two countries,” it added.

Republican Senator John McCain, CIA director David Petraeus and General James Mattis, head of the US Central Command for the Middle East and North Africa were part of Biden’s delegation.