Obama Cuts Short India Trip to Visit Mourning Saudi Arabia

Image: Barack Obama,
President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media prior to his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Obama called the shootings at French newspaper a 'cowardly evil attack' on journalists and a free press. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

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President Barack Obama and the First Lady will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah, the White House said early Saturday.

Obama will cut short an official trip to India and will fly to Riyadh on Tuesday to meet the new King Salman, spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Vice President Joe Biden, who had been due to fly to Saudi Arabia, “will remain in Washington” the statement said.

The change means Obama will skip plans to see the Taj Mahal, the white marble monument of love. Pradeep Bhatnagar, a top state official based in the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, told The Associated Press.

While the Saudi king's simple funeral was held early Friday in accordance with Islamic tradition, the country will remain in mourning for three days.


- Alastair Jamieson and Michelle Cho