2020 in review: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's key moments – in pictures

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces' busy year

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For Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the year began like any other – with a schedule full of high-level meetings and diplomatic visits.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces had an official visit from Shinzo Abe, then prime minister of Japan, on January 13 before travelling to Egypt a few days later.

In Egypt, Sheikh Mohamed met President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, witnessed the opening of a military base and then visited the Sharm El Sheikh Heritage Festival.

Days later, Sheikh Mohamed was back in the sky, flying to Berlin to meet Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.

The month's diplomatic meetings ended with an official visit by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, to Abu Dhabi. It was Mr Tokayev's first visit to the UAE since taking office.

To round out the month, Sheikh Mohamed visited the Dubai Expo 2020 site with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. The pair witnessed the opening of Al Wasl Plaza, known as the jewel of the site, with the expectation that the Expo would welcome the world in eight months. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world fair was postponed to 2021.

In February, Sheikh Mohamed took part in a reception to celebrate and honour members of the UAE Armed Forces who took part in the Arab coalition in Yemen. The emirate's leaders attended the ceremony at Zayed Military City, where the country's forces turned out in full display.

By March, attentions had firmly turned towards the Covid-19 outbreak – which had been officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

The UAE grounded flights, closed schools and implemented work from home measures to prevent the virus' spread. Up to 100 cases were being detected each day and the country was moving quickly to stop further infections and risk overwhelming hospitals.

Drive-through testing centres were immediately set up across the country to encourage testing with Sheikh Mohamed among the first to be screened at one in Abu Dhabi.

Field hospitals were established and Sheikh Mohamed was kept updated with developments through video conferences. He issued a key message to the country's population, urging them not to worry and described access for food and medicine as a "red line".

In May, he toured the Emirates Field Hospital at Emirates Humanitarian City, where many patients were sent for treatment are being unable to isolate at home. Photographs of the visit showed Sheikh Mohamed wearing a face mask, which had become mandatory across the country as part of safety measures.

As Eid Al Fitr began, families were encouraged to remain home and refrain from visiting others. Sheikh Mohamed led by example and celebrated in isolation from his wider family. Instead, he passed on his Eid greetings through video conference.

In June, Sheikh Mohamed visited the Arab world's first nuclear plant, Barakah, in Al Ruwais, where he praised the "remarkable progress" being made at the facility.

A week later, he visited Strata Manufacturing PJSC, an aerospace facility, at Al Ain International airport. There he met young Emiratis carving out their careers in the sector.

The following month saw the UAE aiming higher still, with the launch of the Hope Probe – a UAE space craft headed for Mars to study the planet. Sheikh Mohamed hosted a welcome ceremony for those involved at Qasr Al Watan to honour their achievement.

August saw one of the most significant regional announcements made after the UAE agreed to normalise relations with Israel. The agreement, known as the Abraham Accord, came in a joint call between Sheikh Mohamed, US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In October, following the successful resumption of most economic activities, Sheikh Mohamed toured Abu Dhabi's newest development: Hudayriyat Island. Snapping photos of the entertainment and sporting destination, Sheikh Mohamed's visit gave residents a glimpse of the leisure hub that would open to the public the following month.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi spent the final two months of the year with a return to diplomatic meetings. A visit to the UAE by outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led to a discussion on regional developments and the next month, Sheikh Mohamed travelled to the UK to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. During his UK trip, he also attended his son's graduation from Britain's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

In between his meeting with Mr Pompeo and UK trip, Sheikh Mohamed celebrated the UAE's 49th National Day in Abu Dhabi, where a show in the emirate's mangroves tracked the country's history and looked to a prosperous future.