Monday, February 8, 1999 Published at 06:57 GMT
Blair joins leaders for Hussein funeral
Tony Blair: King Hussein "touched people's lives"
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is among world leaders gathering in Jordan for the funeral of King Hussein.
He said: "King Hussein has a very special place in the hearts of the entire international community.
"He touched people's lives in a very direct way."
Mr Blair is being joined by the Prince of Wales, Conservative leader William Hague and Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown.
The Union Flag at Buckingham Palace is being flown at half-mast in a symbolic tribute to King Hussein who died of cancer on Sunday aged 63.
A spokesman said the prince had "the greatest affection and admiration for the king, whom he considered a great friend of Britain".
Mr Hague praised the king's "sense of humanity and his unswerving dedication (which) were key factors in the brokering of peace in the Middle East".
Mr Ashdown said: "More than almost any other Arab leader of our time, King Hussein of Jordan has, over the long years of his reign, been a father of his nation, a good friend to Britain and a champion of peace."
Baroness Thatcher said King Hussein was irreplaceable, someone who would have a very distinguished place in history.
Her predecessor Lord Callaghan added: "I am very sorry indeed. I met him on many occasions and admired the skill and statesmanship with which he held Jordan together."
Another former PM, Sir Edward Heath, said he felt "a deep personal loss".
"His death will be an immense loss not only to his own country but to the whole of the Middle East," he said.
"Anglicans worldwide will join the people of Jordan in mourning a man whose absence will be deeply felt wherever men and women of good will are to be found," he said in a statement.
"With them we pray that the goal for which he worked so tirelessly, peace with justice in the Middle East, may be finally achieved.
"He could have no more fitting epitaph."