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UK flag tributes to Saudi King Abdullah criticised

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud has died after two decades in power. He has been succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Salman.

Downing Street and other Whitehall departments - along with Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace - were among prominent UK landmarks to put Union Flags at half mast.

But the move caused disquiet because of the human rights record of the country during King Abdullah's reign, with recent outrage focused on the public beheading of a woman and a sentence of 1,000 lashes meted out to the creator of an online blog.

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Cameron 'deeply saddened' by news of King Abdullah's death

David Cameron has said he is "deeply saddened" to hear of the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister, who visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, said:

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.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

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