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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
US delegation arrives in Saudi
Saudi King Abdullah
Crown Prince Abdullah had been de facto ruler since 1995
A US delegation led by Vice-President Dick Cheney has arrived in Saudi Arabia to offer condolences on the death of Saudi Arabian King Fahd.

Mr Cheney is accompanied by former President George Bush and former secretary of state Colin Powell.

All three were senior officials at the time of the 1991 Gulf war, when the then King Fahd gave permission for US troops to enter Saudi Arabia before launching military action to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

The delegation is the latest in a stream of world figures who have gone to Saudi Arabia to offer their condolences and to congratulate King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on his recent accession.

King Fahd passed away on Monday and mourners are continuing to flock to the capital Riyadh in their thousands.

US relations

Saudi Arabia has traditionally maintained a strong relationship with Washington but suffered a blow after the attacks on the United States in September 2001 in which 15 of 19 hijackers were Saudi.

King Abdullah, who as crown prince had been de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom since Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995.

On Wednesday, foreign minister Saud al-Faisal said he expected relationships between Saudi Arabia and the US to improve. He also vowed "total war" on terrorism, a view influenced by the terror attacks suffered by Saudi Arabia over the past two years.

The US team is one of many foreign delegations flocking to the Kingdom since King Fahd's funeral on Wednesday, including Spanish King Juan Carlos who also arrived in Riyadh on Friday.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and British heir to the throne Prince Charles were also among the foreign dignitaries who came to the Gulf country.

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