New Saudi King is granted honours

Islamic authorities are preparing to pledge allegiance to their new monarch, King Abdullah. Some European leaders will join them at the royal court in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The ceremony will take place after the death of King Fahd, 84, who was buried Tuesday in an unmarked desert grave in a ceremony attended only by men. Some European leaders will join them at the royal court in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

As Crown Prince, Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz was the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia for the last 10 years, since the late King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995.

In theory all citizens can greet their new king, but security concerns are likely to limit access mostly to powerful Saudis, including officials and businessmen, the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Riyadh says.

Newspapers in the kingdom are again full of eulogies for the late king and vows of loyalty to King Abdullah, BBC correspondent says.

After the austere burial ceremony on Tuesday, attended by Muslim presidents and kings, western leaders will be meeting privately with King Abdullah.

They will express their condolences for the death of his half-brother but also to congratulate him on his ascension to the throne.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney and former President George Bush Snr are among those expected in Riyadh - a reflection of the close ties that the house of Saud maintains with the West on many levels, BBC correspondent says.

According to The Star, few experts expect major change in foreign. Although he has more Arab nationalistic leanings than Fahd, Abdullah will likely try to solidify Saudi Arabia's ties with the West, and the Bush administration in particular.

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