The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has condemned the “heinous” terrorist attacks in Paris in a message of condolence to French president Francois Hollande, while the French embassy has warned its citizens in the UAE to stay vigilant.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also sent a message of support, as did Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Sheikh Khalifa stressed the UAE’s condemnation of terrorism in all forms, saying cooperation and solidarity at all levels were required to eradicate it. He said the UAE was “fully prepared to cooperate” with France in all measures, and that terrorism was a threat to all moral values and international laws.
Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the struggle against extremists needing a comprehensive approach.
“The terrorist outrage in Paris proves that much more must be done to combat extremism and terrorism by all of us. None is immune,” he said on Twitter, adding that there are “no grey areas” in the UAE’s view on terrorism.
The French embassy has warned its citizens in the UAE to stay vigilant. It urged those who want to check on loved ones in Paris to call an emergency number set up by police: +33 800 40 60 05.
French nationals stayed up until early hours in the morning monitoring the situation and checking on their loved ones after the blasts and shootings.
“I couldn’t sleep. It was an incident that kept multiplying into a horrific nightmare,” said Laure Ple, a French nurse in Dubai. “I’m still processing what is going on. I was on my phone and Facebook all night long making sure everyone is OK.
“I’ve always felt safe in Dubai but I wonder if we are becoming a target everywhere in the world.”
Jean-Yves Carnino, director at Alliance Francaise in Abu Dhabi, voiced the shock felt by the French community in the UAE.
“My son was around one of the blast sites there and parking his car but survived unhurt, while some of my friends lost their lives and many were injured,” he said.
“We are highly traumatised and shocked about the series of blasts in the hearts of the city. We are very concerned, as my family is back home. This is not kind of thing we expect.”
Alliance Francaise Abu Dhabi, a French cultural association that promotes linguistic training and social activities, will be closed until Tuesday afternoon to mourn the victims of the attack, said Mr Carnino, who has lived in the UAE for three years.
“I don’t know what to say today. I am voiceless and I don’t have words describe this heinous attack. There is a war-like situation back home. It’s extremely painful,” he said.
UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad Airways said no disruptions have occurred to flights. However, Etihad has said it will offer options for passengers who wish to change their travel plans.
Passengers who purchased tickets to or from on or before November 13 can change their flight on or before November 30, and those who wish to rebook a more expensive ticket can select the higher fare and pay the difference, a spokesman said.
Additional reporting by Caline Malek