David Cameron has said he is "deeply saddened" by the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdulllah, who died yesterday, aged 90 – and paid tribute to the monarch's "commitment to peace".
The Prime Minister spoke after news emerged that the king, who was hospitalised with pneumonia last month, had passed away. He will be succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman.
Mr Cameron, who visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abd Al Aziz Al Saud.
"He will be remembered for his long years of service to the Kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the Saudi Royal Family and the people of the Kingdom at this sad time.
"I sincerely hope that the long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue and that we can continue to work together to strengthen peace and prosperity in the world."
Mr Cameron's meeting with the King three years ago was a visit intended "to broaden and deepen the UK-Saudi partnership on issues from social development to security to business relations".
The Prime Minister spoke with the King in a telephone call last year on issues including the threat from Islamic State. He thanked the King for a "significant" donation to the humanitarian appeal in Iraq.
King Abdullah was also considered a strong US ally and, following his death, President Barack Obama praised him for taking "bold steps" to help with the Arab Peace Initiative.
Mr Obama said he "valued King Abdullah's perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship".
The King was born in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh in 1924, and became crown prince in 1982, before ascending to the throne in 2005.
Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond said he was sad to hear the news of the King's death.
He said: "He served the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many years with great dignity and dedication. His contribution to the prosperity and security of the Kingdom and the region will long be remembered.
"I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people at this sad time."
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