Messages of condolence have poured in from all across the Middle East and the world in response to the news that UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died on Friday at the age of 73.
In a tweet, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said, “The Emirates lost its righteous son, the leader of the ’empowerment stage’ and the trustee of its glorious journey.” “In every corner of the country, his stances, successes, wisdom, giving, and initiatives.” May God shower you with his infinite mercy and welcome you into his paradise.”
Gulf leaders sent condolence condolences to the Al-Nahyan family and the Emirati people throughout the day. Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court said in a statement carried by SPA that news of Sheikh Khalifa’s death was “received with great regret and sorrow.”
“On the passing of a leader who has given a lot to his people, nation, and the world,” King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the government of the United Arab Emirates, the honorable Al-Nahyan family, the brotherly Emirati people, and the Arab and Islamic nations.”
Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik declared three days of national mourning, saying, “The Sultanate shares the pain of the leadership, government, and people of the brotherly United Arab Emirates in their tremendous anguish.”
Bahrain’s Royal Court also declared three days of national mourning in honor of the late UAE president, who “died away after a life rich in achievements to serve the UAE people as well as Arab and Islamic nations.”
“We have lost a great leader who was knowledgeable and reasonable, who devoted his life and effort to serve his country and nation,” Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in a statement released by the Qatari Emiri Court.
“The Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their leaders,” Emir Sheikh Nawaf declared on behalf of Kuwaitis. “The magnificent guy who dedicated his life to serve his country and people while also fighting for Arab and Islamic issues.”
Sheikh Khalifa had led “a life full of giving and giving in the service of his people, his homeland, and the Arab and Islamic nation,” according to Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
On December 18, 2005, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) receives King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi. (WAM / AFP)
The Arab League’s secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, released a statement of condolences to the UAE’s leadership, government, and people, noting that the Arab League will observe three days of mourning, with flags flying at half-mast.
Leaders from all throughout the Middle East and North Africa paid their respects as well. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi tweeted on Friday, “With real regret and sorrow, I mourn one of the most precious persons and one of the finest leaders.”
“He devoted so much to his country and nation that the Emirates became a model for progress and modernization in our area and beyond the world.”
Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court expressed its condolences as well. Jordan’s King Abdullah II wrote, “We have lost a close brother and an excellent leader who received knowledge from his late great father Sheikh Zayed and dedicated his life to helping his country and the Arab and Islamic nations.”
Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity for the sake of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation,” according to Iraqi President Barham Salih, while Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said: “We are confident that the pioneering path that the late great man took will be continued with the efforts of his country’s leadership and people.”
Several Lebanese authorities took to Twitter to express their grief. Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister, remarked, “Today, the Arab nation lost one of its most renowned figures.”
Arab officials were not the only public figures in the Middle East to express their sorrow. “Sheikh Khalifa’s memory and magnificent efforts are much admired in Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett remarked. In this difficult period, the State of Israel stands by the United Arab Emirates.”
In 2020, Israel and the United Arab Emirates established diplomatic relations, the first of several Abraham Accords normalization agreements between the Jewish state and Arab countries that year.
Sheikh Khalifa’s death was described by Israel’s President Isaac Herzog as “a significant loss for our allies in the UAE and for the entire region.”
“Sheikh Khalifa’s brave leadership contributed so much to the progress of the UAE and its people, as well as the increasing partnership between our two countries, and is a tremendous legacy for his successors,” he continued.
Sheikh Khalifa “guided the UAE through a major phase of its development, marked by great economic advancements and a surge in its regional and global importance,” according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed his condolences to the UAE leadership and people.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “grief and regret” at Sheikh Khalifa’s death in a letter to his UAE counterpart.
Messages came in from all across the world. On Saturday, the Indian government declared a national day of mourning.
“The government of India has decided that there would be one day of state mourning tomorrow throughout India as a show of respect to the dead dignitary,” the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs stated in a statement.
Sheikh Khalifa “was a brilliant statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations blossomed,” according to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted that he was “very grieved” by the news.
Sheikh Khalifa was honored by US President Joe Biden, who described him as a “genuine partner and friend of the United States.”
“We will continue to enhance the longstanding relations between the governments and peoples of the United States and the United Arab Emirates to commemorate his memory,” Biden added.
“Sheikh Khalifa accomplished a lot to strengthen cordial relations and productive cooperation,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated, while French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolences to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, his family, and the Emirati people.
Sheikh Khalifa’s tenacity and foresight were remembered by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who expressed his condolences.
Mattarella wrote in a message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the UAE’s acting president, that he “heard with grief the news of His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-passing,” Nahyan’s adding that his country had been on “an essential path” of progress and prosperity.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, said he was “saddened” to learn of Sheikh Khalifa’s death. “He was a smart and well-liked leader who will be greatly missed.” He has made a personal contribution to regional stability and conservation through his efforts as president and sheikh, which will be remembered for a long time.
“I am confident that our countries’ long and profound relations will continue, and that through our cooperation and friendship, we can assure world peace, prosperity, and justice.”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who maintains close ties with the Middle East and its leaders, expressed his “deep grief” upon learning of Sheikh Khalifa’s death.
“On this sad occasion, I reflect on the president’s long and remarkable public service career.” He was well-liked not only in his own country, but also throughout the region and around the world.”
Sheikh Khalifa, the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed, became the UAE’s second president in November 2004, following his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the country’s largest city and an independent emirate until 1971.
Sheikh Khalifa steered the UAE toward becoming a global energy and economic force. His wife, Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al-Mazrouei, and their eight children survive him.
Sheikh Mohammed, the crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, is expected to succeed Sheikh Khalifa.