CHICAGO - US President Barack Obama offered condolences on Saturday on the death of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Nayef, praising him for helping to build a US-Saudi partnership on counterterrorism.

Obama said Nayef, who had been next in line to rule the world's top oil exporter, had for decades "dedicated himself to the security of Saudi Arabia as well as security throughout the region."

"Under his leadership, the United States and Saudi Arabia developed a strong and effective partnership in the fight against terrorism, one that has saved countless American and Saudi lives," Obama said in a statement issued while on a visit to his home town, Chicago. "On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia.

Seen as a key ally for the West, Saudi Arabia has provided critical intelligence to foil al-Qaida plots, bankrolled pro-Western Arab governments and has supported Washington's attempts to isolate Iran.


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