World leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa

Countries across the region have announced mourning periods

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Leaders from the region and around the world have offered their condolences after the death of the UAE's President, Sheikh Khalifa.

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced the death of Sheikh Khalifa on Friday. He was 73.

The government has declared a 40-day mourning period for the President, who led the UAE following the death of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in 2004.

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.

Gulf

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 their 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.

King Salman ordered funeral prayers be held at the Prophet's Mosque and Grand Mosque and, in a tweet, commended Sheikh Khalifa's devotion to the UAE.

“Today we lost my dear brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan — may God have mercy on him — who devoted his life to serving his people and the advancement of his state. For what he gave to his people and his nation.”

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,” said Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf.

He recalled Sheikh Khalifa's “fair and righteous stance” towards the country during the period of the 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 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 has ordered three days of mourning.

The head of Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al Alimi, said the world and Yemen had “lost an exceptional man and great leader”.

Sheikh Khalifa “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 issued on behalf of Sultan Haitham.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim also ordered three days of mourning and lamented the loss of “a great leader, who was wise and moderate”.

Middle East

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit mourned the death of Sheikh Khalifa and offered his condolences to the UAE's “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 Sisi said on social media.

Quote
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
Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt

“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 Sheikh Khalifa's death “after a journey full of achievements in which his country presented a unique example of leadership and prosperity”, in a message posted on Facebook.

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

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

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett extended condolences to the Emirates.

“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”.

The Bahrain News Agency has marked the death of Sheikh Khalifa with an image that shows the UAE President with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Bahrain's Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad at the young royal’s wedding in 2009. Photo: BNA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended his condolences and said he would visit the Emirates to pay his respects, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Sudanese leader Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan offered his condolences and described Sheikh Khalifa as an “exceptional leader and a wise man who contributed to the renaissance of his country, which became a role model in development and progress”.

Sheikh Khalifa “was among those who worked relentlessly and patiently on bolstering joint Arab action and championing Arab causes both regionally and internationally”, Gen Al Burhan said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his sympathies to the UAE and declared a national period of mourning.

Flags will be flown at half-staff for one day, the Wafa news agency reported.

Algeria's President Abdelmajid Tebboune and Tunisian President Kais Saied also sent their condolences to the UAE's leaders and people in messages posted on Twitter.

World leaders react

US President Joe Biden said that he and the first lady, Jill Biden, were deeply saddened by the news.

“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 long-standing ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”

Mr Biden later called Sheikh Mohamed to personally convey his condolences.

A spokesman for Antonio Guterres said the UN secretary general extended his “profound condolences” to the royal family and the people of the UAE.

“The secretary general reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to its close co-operation with the United Arab Emirates, including on humanitarian issues and interfaith dialogue, as well as on regional and global peace, security and sustainable development,” the statement said.

The UK's Queen Elizabeth II, who enjoyed a close relationship with Sheikh Khalifa forged over several state visits, conveyed her sadness at his passing in a message to Sheikh Mohamed.

“He will be long remembered by all who work for regional stability, understanding between nations and between faiths, and for the conservation cause,” she said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sheikh Khalifa was a “wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously” and who “made a personal contribution to regional stability and conservation that will long be remembered”.

French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying his thoughts were with the President's brother Sheikh Mohamed, all of his family and the people of the UAE.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, tweeted her "condolences to the people of the UAE".

''Sheikh devoted his life to his country, working for the welfare and future of the Emirates. With him, the UAE became prosperous, tolerant and open to the world. His legacy will live on.''

European Council President Charles Michel also offered his condolences.

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

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

The Federal Chancellor and Prime Minister of the Republic of Austria Karl Nehammer and his predecessor, Sebastian Kurz, sent condolences too.

"Sheikh Khalifa has been a great leader, building bridges between the nations. My thoughts are with his family and the people of the UAE," said Mr Kurz.

Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sheikh Khalifa was “a great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered”.

“The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of UAE,” Mr Modi said on Twitter.

India's Foreign Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited the UAE Embassy in New Delhi on Saturday to sign the book of condolence for Sheikh Khalifa.

"We will always be grateful for his vision and leadership that brought our two countries so close," Mr Jaishankar said in a message on Twitter.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said Sheikh Khalifa was a reformer and praised him for fostering deeper relations between the two countries.

“A strong and visionary leader, he steered the UAE through path-breaking reforms making it an oasis of prosperity. His contribution in fostering deeper India-UAE ties cannot be overstated,” Mr Goyal said on Twitter.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that with the death of Sheikh Khalifa, the “UAE has lost visionary leader and Pakistan a great friend”.

“He was well-wisher and a sincere friend of Pakistan,” the embassy of Pakistan said in separate message of condolence.

“In this hour of extreme grief, the Pakistani community in the UAE stands with their UAE brethren.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo also mourned the passing of Sheikh Khalifa.

"It was with profound sadness that I learnt of the passing of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed," Mr Widodo tweeted early on Saturday.

"He will forever be remembered as a great leader that solidified the prosperity of UAE," he said.

Fumio Kishida, prime minister of Japan, praised Sheikh Zayed for his contribution to the UAE "especially at the economic level, and his endeavours for peace and stability in the Middle East".

In a message of condolence to the UAE, Mr Kishida noted that Sheikh Khalifa gave special attention to strengthening ties with Japan since his visit to Expo Osaka in 1970 in his capacity as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Africa

Tanzania's president sent his own condolences, paying tribute to a “great leader”, and Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa said the late UAE leader was a “friend” to his nation.

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”.

South America

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro announced three days of national mourning in a message of condolence to the UAE.

President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, offered his condolences too.

"My sympathy goes out to those who are going through this difficult moment today," Mr Fernandez tweeted.

Updated: May 14, 2022, 11:59 AM
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