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Sheikh Khalifa passes away: US VP Kamala Harris arrives in UAE to offer condolences, meet the new President

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 16/05/2022 Web Desk
Photo: AFP © Provided by Khaleej Times Photo: AFP

US Vice-President Kamala Harris arrives in the UAE on Monday to pay respects to the country's late president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and meet the new President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The trip marks the highest-level visit by Biden administration officials to Abu Dhabi, a potent show of support as America looks to strengthen its relationship with its partner amid the fast-changing geopolitical landscape.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s national security adviser, greeted Harris on the windswept tarmac. The delegation also included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns and climate envoy John Kerry, among others.

The UAE unanimously elected Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the third President of the UAE, succeeding his brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday, May 13.

Underscoring Abu Dhabi’s great influence in Western and Arab capitals, an array of presidents, prime ministers and princes descended in the Emirates over the weekend to honour the late Sheikh Khalifa, praise Sheikh Mohamed and solidify ties.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were the first European leaders to jet to the UAE capital.

More dignitaries, world leaders and heads of government offered condolences and congratulated Sheikh Mohamed on Monday.

Britain’s Prince William also came to pay tribute to the late ruler of the former British protectorate, marking his second visit to the emirate so far this year.

Before heading to Abu Dhabi, Harris said she was travelling on behalf of President Joe Biden to offer condolences on the death of Sheikh Khalifa and to shore up America’s crucial relationship with the UAE.

“The United States takes quite seriously the strength of our relationship and partnership with the UAE,” Harris told reporters. “We are going there then to express our condolences but also as an expression of our commitment to the strength of that relationship.”

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