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Tributes Pour In As UAE Loses President, Sheikh Khalifa



World leaders have condoled with the United Arab Emirates President over the death of its president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who died on Friday at age 73.

The late leader died after battling illness for several years, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced.

The ministry announced 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast from Friday, with work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.

The UN offices in the UAE expressed their condolences on the “profound loss of Sheikh Khalifa”.

“In this moment of grief, our thoughts are with the people of UAE. The UN offices are now in official mourning and the flags are flown at half-mast on all UAE lands,” the world body said.

“Sheikh Khalifa was a true partner and friend of the United States throughout his decades-long tenure as President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and in his earlier role as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,” Mr Biden said.

“On behalf of the American people, I offer my condolences to Sheikh Khalifa’s family and all Emiratis as they mourn this great loss. We will honour his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”

Sheikh Khalifa died after “a life full of giving, and giving in the service of his people, his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation”, GCC Secretary General Nayef Al Hajraf said in a message to the UAE’s leaders and its people.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed condolences to the “Government of the UAE, Al Nahyan family, the Emirati people and the Arab and Islamic nations over the death of Sheikh Khalifa”, the royal court said.

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Kuwait declared 40 days of mourning and the closure of state institutions for three days as a mark of respect.

“The Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their leaders, a great man who devoted his life to serving his country and people and defending Arab and Islamic causes,” Kuwait emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah said in a message of condolence, recalling Sheikh Khalifa’s “fair and righteous stance” towards the country during the period of Iraqi occupation.

He said Sheikh Khalifa led the UAE “during a period of a comprehensive renaissance that placed it in the ranks of the developed countries”.

Bahrain will hold three days of mourning for the late UAE President, its royal court said.

Sheikh Khalifa died “after a life full of giving and achievements in the service of his people and the Arab and Islamic nation and in support of its causes”, King Hamad said.

Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik ordered three days of mourning for Sheikh Khalifa, who “led the sisterly United Arab Emirates with determination and perseverance until it became a landmark referred to in all fields,” the Diwan of Oman’s Royal Court said in a statement of condolence issued on the ruler’s behalf.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim also ordered three days of mourning and lamented the loss of “a great leader who was wise and moderate” in his message of condolence.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit mourned the death of Sheikh Khalifa and offered his condolences “to the state, its leadership, government and people, in light of this great loss”. He ordered the Arab League flag to be lowered for three days.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed sorrow after the announcement of Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

“I mourn with sincere sadness and sorrow a man of the most precious men, and one of the greatest leaders, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who passed away after a long journey of giving,” Mr El Sisis said on social media.

“He has given a lot to his country and nation so that the UAE has become a model for development and modernity in our region and the world.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II also expressed his sympathies to the UAE and ordered 40 days of mourning for Sheikh Khalifa.

“We have lost a dear brother and an outstanding leader who inherited wisdom from his late great father Sheikh Zayed and dedicated his life to serving his country and the Arab and Islamic nations,” King Abdullah said on Twitter.

Egypt’s Al Azhar, one of the highest seats of Islamic learning, mourned the passing Sheikh Khalifa “after a journey full of achievements in which his country presented a unique example of leadership and prosperity”, in a message of condolence posted on its Facebook page.

Morocco’s King Mohamed VI sent condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed.

“I express my heartfelt condolences and sincerest feelings of consolation, praying to Allah to bestow patience on you and mercy on the late,” the king said.

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett extended condolences to the Emirates and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces.

“The legacy and great deeds of Sheikh Khalifa were much appreciated in Israel. The state of Israel stands alongside the United Arab Emirates and with it at this difficult time,” Mr Bennett said.

Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi also extended their condolences.

Mr Salih said Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity for the sake of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation”.

Mr Al Kadhimi said, “We are confident that the pioneering path that the late great man took will continue with the efforts of his country’s leadership and people.”

Lebanon’s Cabinet on Friday declared nationwide mourning for Sheikh Khalifa, with flags to be flown at half-staff for three days.

President Michel Aoun sent his condolences to the UAE and said Lebanon would “miss a president who defends just Arab causes, a sincere brother who loved Lebanon and the Lebanese who gave love and loyalty to him”.

Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi posted a message on Twitter to mourn the death of Sheikh Khalifa.

“We ask God Almighty to have mercy on his soul and condolences to the leadership and people of the sisterly United Arab Emirates and to the entire Arab nation, may God have mercy on the President of the State, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, and place him in his vast paradise,” Mr Mawlawi said.

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri said the Arab nation “lost one of its most prominent men”.

European Council President Charles Michel offered condolences to Sheikh Khalifa’ family and the Emirati people.

“The EU honours his legacy and leadership under which the UAE became frontrunner of sustainable development and economic diversification,” Mr Michel said.

Sheikh Khalifa “will be deeply missed and mourned”, British former prime minister Tony Blair said in a message of condolence.

“He was respected not only in his country but throughout the wider region and the world,“ he said.

Italy expressed its “deepest sadness” to the leadership and people of the UAE.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio also expressed his sadness and said the death of Sheikh Khalifa was “a great loss to the people of UAE and the world”.

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