President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (L) expresses his condolences to the new Saudi King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz (C) on January 24, 2015 at the Diwan royal palace in Riyadh. AFP PHOTO/POOL/YOAN VALAT
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was traveling to offer condolences to Salman, who acceded to the throne on Friday after Abdullah's death at the age of about 90 .On Saturday ceremonies moved to the Al-Yamamah Palace, the royal court, where foreign dignitaries greeted Salman and Moqren.Other guests included French President Francois Hollande, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, European royalty and Jordan's King Abdullah II.World leaders have praised Abdullah as a key mediator between Muslims and the West, but activists criticized his rights record and urged Salman to do more to protect free speech and freedoms for women.Salman also appointed as defense minister one of his own sons, Prince Mohammad.Salman is widely expected to follow Abdullah's foreign and energy policies as well as moderate reforms.The Al-Hayat newspaper carried full-page advertisements Sunday pledging support for Salman and offering condolences on the death of Abdullah.
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