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Hollande to present condolences for Abdallah’s death on Saudi Arabia visit

media The late Saudi king Abdallah bin Abdelaziz al Saoud AFP

French President François Hollande is to present his condolences for the death of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia in person on a visit to the country, the Elysée presidential palace announced. Hollande was to appeal for a “global” response to terrorism and climate change at the Davis forum on Friday ahead of a trip to the Philippines next month.

Details of Hollande’s visit to Saudi Arabia had yet to be settled, the Elysée said, but the president would be going to the desert kingdom, which is a major French diplomatic and trade partner.

The death of Abdallah at the age of 90 was announced at 2.00am on Friday morning.

He is succeeded by one of his half-brothers, Salman.

Hollande was set to address 2,000 politicians and business leaders at the Davis Economic Forum in Switzerland on Friday, the first time a Socialist French president has attended the elite gathering.

He was to appeal for a “global” response to political violence, an appeal which has added weight after this month's Charlie Hebdo attacks, and to climate change.

Ironically, his arrival was delayed by bad weather.

The French president is to visit the Philippines on 26-27 February to add urgency to his appeal on climate change ahead of a conference on the question in Paris later this year.

The Philippines is hit by dozens of devastating storms every year, with 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest on record, leaving 7,350 dead.

France and the Philippines "can send a common message to the international community, can be a symbol, can be a spark to mobilise and bring us back to our senses and reason," said his environment envoy Nicolas Hulot, who was in Manila for meetings with Philippine officials and visits to typhoon zones.

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