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Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life of achievement’

DUBAI: Messages of condolence poured in from the Middle East and around the world following news of the death on Friday of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, at the age of 73.

“The Emirates have lost their righteous son, the leader of the ’empowerment phase’ and the trustee of his blessed journey,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, said in a tweet. “His positions, his achievements, his wisdom, his gifts and his initiatives across the country. May God have mercy on you with his great mercy and bring you into his paradise.

Throughout the day, Gulf leaders sent messages of condolence to the Al-Nahyan family and the Emirati people. In a statement released by the SPA, the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia said news of Sheikh Khalifa’s death was “received with great sadness and grief”.

Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity”. (AFP)

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the government of the United Arab Emirates, the honorable Al-Nahyan family, the brotherly Emirati people and the Arab and Islamic nations on the occasion of the passing of a leader who gave so much to his people, his nation and the world.

Declaring three days of national mourning, Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik said, “The Sultanate shares the sorrow of the leaders, government and people of the brotherly United Arab Emirates in their great affliction.”

Also ordering three days of official mourning, the Royal Court of Bahrain “paid tribute to the late President of the United Arab Emirates who passed away after a lifetime of achievement in service to the people of the United Arab Emirates as well as Arab and Islamic nations.”

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (right) receives King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi on December 18, 2005. (WAM / AFP)

In a statement issued by the Emirati Court of Qatar, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said: “We have lost with his passing a great, wise and moderate leader, who dedicated his life and efforts in the service of his country and his nation. .”

Speaking on behalf of Kuwaitis, Emir Sheikh Nawaf said: “Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their leaders. The great man who devoted his life to serving his country and his people and defending Arab and Islamic causes.

Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), conveyed his sincere condolences, saying that Sheikh Khalifa had lived “a life full of gifts and gifts in the service of his people, his homeland and the Arab and Islamic Nation.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, issued a statement of condolences addressed to the leaders, government and people of the United Arab Emirates, adding that the Arab League will observe three days of mourning with flags at half mast.

Leaders from the Greater Middle East and North Africa also paid tribute. “With sincere sadness and grief, I mourn one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi tweeted on Friday.

“He gave a lot to his country and his nation, until the Emirates became a model of development and modernity in our region and in the world.”

The Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan also offered its condolences. “We have lost a dear brother and an exceptional leader who inherited the wisdom of his late grandfather Sheikh Zayed and dedicated his life to the service of his country and Arab and Islamic nations,” King Abdullah II tweeted. Jordan.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity for the good of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation”, while Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said: “We We are confident that the pioneering path that the late great man took will continue the efforts of the leaders and people of his country.

Several Lebanese officials expressed their grief via Twitter. “Today the Arab nation lost one of its most eminent men,” said Saad Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

Arab leaders were not the only public figures in the Middle East to offer their condolences. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy and great deeds are greatly admired in Israel. The State of Israel stands with the United Arab Emirates at this difficult time.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates established diplomatic ties in 2020 — the first of several US-backed normalization deals between the Jewish state and Arab countries that year, known as the Peace Accords Abraham.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the death of Sheikh Khalifa “a great loss for our friends in the United Arab Emirates and for the whole region”.

He added, “Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership has contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries and is a great legacy for his successors.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “his sorrow and regret” over the death of Sheikh Khalifa.

Messages have also arrived from further afield. The Indian government announced a day of mourning on Saturday.

“As a mark of respect to the deceased cleric, the Government of India has decided that there will be a national day of mourning tomorrow across India,” India’s Home Ministry said in a statement.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by the news, saying Sheikh Khalifa “was a great statesman and visionary leader under whose leadership India-UAE relations flourished.”

US President Joe Biden has paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, calling the late Emirati leader “a true partner and friend of the United States”.

“We will honor his memory by continuing to strengthen the long-standing bonds between the governments and peoples of the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” Biden said.

“Sheikh Khalifa has done a lot to strengthen friendly relations and constructive cooperation,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, while French President Emmanuel Macron said his “thoughts go out to his brother Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, to all his family and to the Emirati people. ”

Italian President Sergio Mattarella also offered his condolences, saying he would remember Sheikh Khalifa for his “tenacity and foresight”.

In a message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, now acting president of the United Arab Emirates, Mattarella said he “learned with sadness the news of the death of His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan”, who, he added, had led his country on “an important path” of growth and development.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “saddened” to learn of Sheikh Khalifa’s death. “He was a wise and respected leader who will be sorely missed. Through his work as President and Sheikh, he made a personal contribution to regional stability and conservation that will long be remembered.

“I know that the long and deep ties that unite our countries will continue and through our cooperation and friendship, we can bring peace, prosperity and justice to the world.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who continues to have close ties with the Middle East and its leaders, shared his “deep sadness” upon learning of Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

“On this sad occasion, I remember the President’s long and distinguished career as a public servant. He was respected not only in his country, but throughout the region and the world.

Born in 1948, Sheikh Zayed’s eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa took over as the second president of the United Arab Emirates in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven cities. of the country and until 1971 an independent emirate.

Sheikh Khalifa led the United Arab Emirates as it began its rise to become a global oil and trading power. He leaves behind his wife Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al-Mazrouei and their eight children.

Sheikh Khalifa is expected to be replaced by Sheikh Mohammed, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

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