Iraq's leaders pay tribute to 'man of wisdom' Sheikh Khalifa

Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi praises 'a journey full of giving and achievements'

Iraqi leaders on Friday mourned the death of the UAE's President Sheikh Khalifa, describing him as a man of “wisdom” and “achievement".

Sheikh Khalifa became the president of the UAE in 2004 after the death of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The government announced his death on Friday. He was 73.

“We received the passing of the President of UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with profound sadness and sorrow,” Iraqi President Barham Salih said.

“He was known for his wisdom and generosity for the sake of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation."

Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi also extended his “deepest condolences and sympathy” to the Emirati leadership and people.

“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,” Mr Al Kadhimi said.

Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi said Sheikh Khalifa's life was “a journey full of giving and achievements”.

Mr Al Halbousi offered his condolences, asking “the Almighty to have mercy upon his soul and to grant our brothers patience and solace”.

Ties between the UAE and Iraq have been strengthening in recent years. In 2018, the UAE pledged $50.4 million (Dh185m) to restore several landmarks in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul after it emerged from more than three years under ISIS control and a bitter war to take it back.

The Unesco flagship initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” was launched mainly to reconstruct the Al Nouri Mosque, as well as two old churches, Al Saa’a and Al Tahera, and areas of significant cultural value.

The bilateral relations are being further boosted under the government of Mr Al Kadhimi. Early last year, the UAE pledged $3bn in investment commitments to Iraq during his visit to the UAE.

In October last year, Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, landed a deal with Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity and National Investment Commission to implement solar projects that will boost the country's goal of generating 20 per cent to 25 per cent of its energy from renewables, equal to 10-12 gigawatts, by 2030.

In 2008, the UAE cancelled almost $7bn of debt, including interest and arrears payments, owed by Baghdad, becoming the first Gulf Arab country to forgive all of Iraq’s debt.

Updated: May 14, 2022, 11:08 AM
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