UAE president Sheikh Khalifa dies at 73

UAE president Sheikh Khalifa dies at 73

United Arab Emirates President, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a pro-Western moderniser who had aligned the Gulf Arab state closer to the United States and its allies, died on Friday.

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced that, there will be 40 days of official mourning with flags at half mast and three days closure of ministries and official entities at the federal and local levels and the private sector.

Sheikh Khalifa, born in 1948, had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014, his brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, has been seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler in recent years.

“The UAE has lost its righteous son and leader of the empowerment phase’ and guardian of its blessed journey,” Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said.

Under the constitution, Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, would act as president until the federal council which groups the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.

Sheikh Khalifa came to power in 2004 in the richest emirate Abu Dhabi and became the head of state. He is expected to be succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed.

Abu Dhabi, which holds most of the Gulf state’s oil wealth, has held the presidency since the founding of the UAE federation by Sheikh Khalifa’s father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in 1971.

Reuters

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