The country’s leadership have addressed the nation on the celebration of 43 years since the unification of the emirates.
Sheikh Khalifa, the President, said safeguarding the union required both the leadership and the people to reinforce the nation’s principles and empower its citizens.
“We sense the tremendous national work that has been accomplished over the past 10 years since we took the solemn oath to carry the banner, to bear the responsibility and to discharge the duty as President of the United Arab Emirates, as carried before by my father, the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed,” said Sheikh Khalifa, in a statement issued by the state news agency, Wam.
During the late Ruler’s reign, which spanned 33 years, Sheikh Zayed was able to unify the seven trucial states through several years of negotiations that culminated in the raising of the newly formed Emirates flag on December 2, 1971.
“The 2nd of December will always remain deeply embedded in our minds as a day for deepening our love of the nation, enhancing the values of belonging and loyalty, a day on which we recall – with pride – our commendable and honourable history and the lives of our founding fathers,” said Sheikh Khalifa.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, raised the role played by Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed in the establishment of the UAE.
“Had it not been for your good plants, we would not have been able to reap the fruits and renew what you already had planted to achieve glory,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
He concluded by saying that regardless of the achievements over the last four decades, the future cannot be met with complacency.
“Despite all the achievements that we have made, the stature that we have attained for our country and society, and despite all the excellence and high competitiveness on the global level, we are still at the beginning of our journey.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the success of the nation was contingent on developing the economy by decreasing the nation’s reliance on oil and focusing more on diversifying sources of income through nurturing future generations.
“The UAE is a youthful society, and our youth represent the future of our nation. Therefore, we must make sure our youth are protected against outlandish ideas and malicious attempts to target them,” he said.
Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and widow of the late Sheik Zayed, offered her congratulations. “On this day, we recall with pride the founding fathers who established the foundations of the Union” and “given the UAE leaders’ perseverance, the country today is among the top 10 world countries”.