Uae President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Dies At 73; Condolences Pour In


United Arab Emirates President and ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday. He was 73. The Ministry of Presidential Affairs of UAE has announced official mourning and flags at half-mast for a period of 40 days, starting today.

Additionally, work in ministries and government departments on federal and local levels as well as in the private sector will be suspended for three days effective immediately.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE,” a statement by state news agency WAM said.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the eldest son of the founding leader of UAE Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. As the 16th emir of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, he has been the leader of the country since November 2004 when he was first elected as the president. He was the second president in the UAE’s history and served for over 17 years.

Under Khalifa bin Zayed’s leadership, the UAE transformed into a thriving regional power and a major business and technology hub. The UAE also normalized ties with Israel in the historic Abraham Accords under his administration.

In 2014, he suffered a stroke but was in stable condition. However, most of the authority was given over to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his half-brother, as per a Jerusalem Post report.

Expressing grief over the death of UAE President, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was a great statesman and visionary leader under whom relations between the two countries prospered. The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of UAE, Modi tweeted.

Describing the president of the oil-rich nation as a leader who modernised and empowered the Gulf nation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Sheikh Khalifa laid the foundation for the India-UAE relationship.

“We deeply mourn the passing away of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,” Jaishankar said on Twitter. “He will be remembered as a leader who modernized and empowered the United Arab Emirates. This laid the foundation of the transformation of the India-UAE relationship,” he said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed his condolences and said he will be fondly remembered as a visionary leader who brought rapid development to the UAE.

“My heartfelt condolences to the family of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and to the people of United Arab Emirates,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

Condoling the demise of the 73-year-old president, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan recalled that Sheikh Khalifa had always kept cordial relations with Kerala.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who has always kept cordial relations with Kerala. He was a visionary leader who played a key role in modernising the Emirates. His contributions will be remembered forever,” Vijayan tweeted.

In his condolence message, Satheesan said Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan modernised the Emirates and contributed significantly to build a better world.

“Deeply saddened to know the passing away of H H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE. He modernised the Emirates and contributed significantly to build a better world. His contributions will be cherished always. Condolences and Prayers”, Satheesan tweeted.

India has announced one day of state mourning on Saturday as a mark of respect to the departed UAE President. According to a communication issued by the Union Home Ministry to all states and union territories on Friday, the Government of India has decided that there will be one day’s state mourning on May 14 throughout the country.

On the day of mourning, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment, the communication said.

(Edited by : Priyanka Deshpande)

First Published:  IST