UAE National Day: Leaders celebrate country's achievements despite challenging year

Country's leaders pay tribute to medics for who helped contain Covid-19

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Related: UAE National Day: Sheikh Khalifa optimistic after year of 'exceptional challenges'

The UAE's leaders have hailed 2020 as a key year for the country; when it weathered the Covid-19 storm.

Speaking to mark the 49th National Day, they said the country overcame the pandemic and set course for an even more prosperous future.

They also hailed a year which saw the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission, the opening of the Barakah Nuclear Plant – a first for the Arab world – and the signing of the Abraham Accords that ushered diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel.

"This success is not a mere coincidence or luck but rather the outcome of our Emirati model that foresaw the future and developed appropriate strategies and plans to get the nation ready for emergencies and worst-case scenarios," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

"Our Emirati model will ensure the efficiency and flexibility of our institutions and their ability to make the right decisions at the right time."

Sheikh Mohammed also paid tribute to the "white army" of medics and "its battalions of doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators, who have shown sincerity and dedication, have taken risks and advanced their ranks to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and treat the patients. Our health workers have presented new heroes to our country."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the UAE's 49th National Day marks a milestone in the country's march to an even brighter future.

Dubai dazzles as the city lights up for UAE National Day

Dubai dazzles as the city lights up for UAE National Day

Also turning to the pandemic, Sheikh Mohamed said not only had the UAE dealt with Covid-19, it helped other countries do so as well

"The UAE believes that this crisis will pass and what is important is to not only tackle it effectively, but also have the ability to deal with the situation once the pandemic is over," said Sheikh Mohamed.

"The UAE has also actively participated in international scientific and research efforts aimed at finding treatments and vaccines for the virus and has co-operated with other countries to achieve this goal. It has called for these treatments and vaccines to be provided to everyone without exception."

The remarks were carried in Nation Shield, the UAE Armed Forces magazine. The edition also features words from all other Rulers, Crown Princes, ministers and key figures.

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, said the UAE was a model of unity and cohesion emulated across the world.

"We reiterate our prayers for our dear homeland to achieve more successes, prosperity and development and gain more strength in its noble march for more glories," he said.

Bystanders cheer as stunning fireworks show marks UAE National Day in Abu Dhabi

Bystanders cheer as stunning fireworks show marks UAE National Day in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, said the UAE is a model of solidarity.

"The UAE is advancing confidently to secure its befitting place among advanced nations, by protecting our human, social and economic capacities and exerting all possible efforts to achieve overall development and advancement," said Sheikh Saud. "We are proud of our accomplishments and we are driven by the Spirit of the Union to achieve further successes."

Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, paid tribute to the country's martyrs.

"On this spectacular national occasion, we remember with all pride and glory the honourable martyrs of the homeland who, together with their brothers contributed to the implementation of the tasks assigned to them within the Arab Coalition forces to ward off dangers from the borders of the homeland and demonstrated unrivalled competencies with courage and sacrifice."

Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, said the experience of 2020 showed the UAE can deal with any situation.

"The UAE has proved its ability to overcome and counter crises, most notably during the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"It also eased the financial burden of companies and individuals and involved the local community in all social responsibility initiatives."

Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, pointed to other big achievements this year such as the opening of the Barakah nuclear energy plant.

"As the UAE is looking forward to the next 50 years, we remember the achievements that we should be proud of, most notably the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, which made the UAE the first Arab country to possess nuclear energy technology to produce electricity," said Sheikh Humaid.

In this handout photograph taken and released on July 20, 2020 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries an H-2A rocket carrying the Hope Probe known as "Al-Amal" in Arabic, developed by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to explore Mars, blasts off from Tanegashima Space Centre in southwestern Japan. The first Arab space mission to Mars blasted off on July 20 aboard a rocket from Japan, with the probe dubbed "Hope" successfully separating about an hour after liftoff. - --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / (MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES)" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ---
The launch of the rocket from Japan's Tanegashima Space Centre in July. AFP

He also highlighted "the launch of the Hope Probe, the first Arab and Islamic probe to Mars, and the launch of the biggest national strategy to prepare for the coming 50 years in the federal and local levels as the country approaches its Golden Jubilee in 2021."

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said the ambition of Sheikh Zayed had resulted in the UAE becoming one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation also highlighted the Emirates Mars Mission.

"As a result of the aspirations and hard work of the Emirati people, the ambition of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan reached out to space towards the planet Mars, commemorating a journey of 50 years of ambitions and challenges," Sheikh Abdullah said.