Saudis described Crown Prince Sultan as a source of strength and a statesman and described his death as a big loss for the Kingdom. Talking to Arab News, they said it has created a big void.
Well-known political analyst and columnist Hussein Shobokshi said he was saddened by the death of Prince Sultan. “Saudis were aware that his health was failing. He was looking frail in his last years ... so the death has not come as a shock but it has saddened us,” he said. “He was a statesman.”
According to Shobokshi, the Saudis are now looking in anticipation at the next step. “This is the first time that a crown prince has departed before a king. This is a unique situation. Also, we have a structure (of succession). In times past the king was the sole authority to name his crown prince. Now there is a body called the Allegiance Council which will recommend the new crown prince.”
Khalid A. Al-Abdulkarim, CEO of the Alkhobar-based Al-Abdulkarim Holding, described his death as a big loss for Saudi Arabia and especially for people of the Eastern Province.
“He was always at hand whenever we needed him. He had close contact with this area for a long time. He knew our parents and always paid special attention to the needs of the local population.”
According to Al-Abdulkarim, Prince Sultan nurtured this region with his frequent contacts and visits. “His passing away is sad news.”
Khaled Almaeena, editor at large at Arab News, said Crown Prince Sultan's death has left a deep void in the heart of many people. “He was a kind and generous man, and cared deeply for the underprivileged,” he said.
“His presence was always a source of strength for the Kingdom.”
Educationist Abdul Aziz M. Al-Jezairy said Crown Prince Sultan was among the architects of modern Saudi Arabia.
“He played a significant role is making Saudi Arabia a strong nation. Together with his brothers he helped this nation achieve glory and confidence in the last four decades,” said Al-Jezairy. “He was a pillar of strength.”
Suleiman Fahd Al-Shammari, a commercial pilot, said Crown Prince Sultan would be remembered for his unparalleled contribution in fortifying the country's borders.
“As defense minister he saw to it that the Kingdom dealt with external challenges with an iron hand. He played a key role during many battles and helped Saudi Arabia emerge victorious,” said Al-Shammari. “He was a master strategist.”
By SIRAJ WAHAB