India leads tributes to Sheikh Khalifa at UN Security Council

Diplomats are set to hold a moment of silence in the New York chamber for Sheikh Khalifa next week

India’s deputy UN ambassador R Ravindra led tributes during UN Security Council talks to the UAE's President, Sheikh Khalifa, who died on Friday at the age of 73.

Mr Ravindra praised the leader for transforming and modernising his country.

“His Highness will be remembered as a great statesman and visionary leader who modernised and empowered the United Arab Emirates,” he said at the meeting of the UN’s top body.

“He laid the foundation of the transformation of the India-UAE relationship. The heartfelt condolences of the people of India are with the people of the UAE.”

Diplomats from Britain, the US, Brazil, China, Ghana, Norway, Ireland, Kenya and Mexico also offered their condolences to the UAE over Sheikh Khalifa's death.

Michel Xavier Biang, the UN ambassador for Gabon, added: “May his soul rest in peace”.

The UAE’s deputy UN envoy Mohamed Abushahab expressed gratitude to his counterparts on the 15-nation council for their sentiments.

“We thank you for those expressions, both here at the council, and bilaterally,” said Mr Abushahab.

“We've already requested for the United States presidency to schedule a moment of silence sometime next week.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also expressed "profound condolences" over the loss.

Sheikh Khalifa "led the UAE through a significant period of its development, marked by great economic advances and a surge in its regional and global influence", said a UN spokesman.

The UN would continue working with the Emirates on "humanitarian issues and interfaith dialogue, as well as on regional and global peace, security and sustainable development", he added.

The UAE joined the UN’s top body for a two-year term on January 1, meaning it can take part in meetings, vote on resolutions and help draft official statements.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 5:50 PM