The UAE bid farewell on Friday to late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the country, who passed away after 18 years of service and achievements.
Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest at a cemetery in Al Bateen, following nationwide prayers, led by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Ruler of Abu Dhabi and senior sheikhs of Al Nahyan family, at the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed the First Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced the passing away of Sheikh Khalifa, saying that there will be 40 days of official mourning with flags at half-staff and a three-day closure of ministries, official bodies and private institutions.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, paid tribute to the late president, who “fulfilled his promise, served his nation and loved his people.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said that the UAE has lost its “righteous son, the leader of the empowerment stage and the trustee of the blessed journey,” stressing that the stances, achievements and wisdom, of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed have left their mark across the Emirates.
Leaders and senior officials in the Gulf, Arab and Islamic countries and the world conveyed their condolences for the passing away of Sheikh Khalifa.
Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said expressed his heartfelt condolences to the UAE leadership and people on the sad news, saying that Sheikh Khalifa “was one of the Arab leaders who worked to serve Arab and Islamic nation and led the United Arab Emirates with determination and perseverance until it became a landmark referred to in all fields.”
King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain mourned the death of Sheikh Khalifa, expressing his heartfelt condolences to the UAE leadership and people on this sad news.
For his part, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, said: “The Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their great leaders, who devoted his life to serving his country and people and defending Arab and Islamic issues.”
Moroccan King Mohammed VI paid tribute to the great achievements of late Sheikh Khalifa, conveying his deep condolences for the passing away of “a noble and brave Arab leader, bound to Morocco by solid ties of brotherhood and esteem.”
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani mourned the death of Sheikh Khalifa, whom he described as “a great leader known for his wisdom and moderation, who dedicated his life to serving his country and nation.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, for his part, said: “We have lost a dear brother and an outstanding leader who inherited wisdom from his late great father Sheikh Zayed and dedicated his life to serving his country and the Arab and Islamic nations.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered his condolences “in his name and on behalf of the Syrian Arab people to the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and the Emirati people.”
The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, remarked that Sheikh Khalifa had dedicated his life to serving his people, country and Arab and Islamic nation.
He also recalled his role in supporting the GCC, “which has become a constant entity that respects the depth of fraternal relations that have bound the people of the Gulf throughout history.”
“We have lost a Gulf, Arab and international leader and pioneer,” he declared.
US President Joe Biden said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing of Sheikh Khalifa.
A statement by the White House read: “Sheikh Khalifa was a true partner and friend of the United States throughout his decades-long tenure as President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and in his earlier role as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.”
Biden added: “On behalf of the American people, I offer my condolences to Sheikh Khalifa’s family and all Emiratis as they mourn this great loss. We will honor his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced his sorrow over the death of Sheikh Khalifa and said in a tweet that the latter was “a wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously.”
Russia expressed its condolences, praising the late UAE president’s role in developing relations between the two countries.
In addition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would visit the UAE to offer condolences.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed his condolences in a tweet.
“Sheikh Khalifa’s great legacy and deeds were appreciated by many in Israel. The State of Israel stands alongside the UAE and its people at this difficult time,” Bennet said.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences and described Sheikh Khalifa as a “great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered.”