Late Saudi king hailed as "champion against global hunger"

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left), on a June 2008 visit to Saudi Arabia, is greeted by King Abdullah in Jeddah. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The late King of Saudi Arabia has been hailed as "a champion against global hunger" by the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon spoke at a meeting at the United Nations on Monday in memory of King Abdullah who passed away two weeks ago.

Representatives of regional groupings at the UN paid tribute to the King.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The UN Secretary-General said that King Abdullah was a wise and compassionate leader who guided Saudi Arabia's development.

The King, he added, also worked to resolve peace and security challenges and address counter-terrorism issues.

And Mr Ban said he was committed to reducing hunger across the world.

"I am especially grateful for his stalwart support for the United Nations and the least fortunate among us. He was a champion against global hunger. In 2008, during the crisis over high food prices, he arranged for the World Food Programme to receive $500 million — the largest single donation that WFP has ever received." (25")

Ban Ki-moon said that more recently King Abdullah generously supported humanitarian assistance efforts in Syria and Iraq, where millions of people are in dire need.

He offered his condolences to the bereaved royal family and to the people of Saudi Arabia, adding that he looked forward to personally conveying his sympathy and support when he visits Saudi Arabia soon.

Stephanie Coutrix United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″

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