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UAE newspapers mourn death of Khalifa bin Zayed

Emirates News Agency logo Emirates News Agency 14/05/2022 Emirates News Agency (WAM)

ABU DHABI, 14th May, 2022 (WAM) -- UAE local newspapers on Saturday mourned the death of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who passed away on Friday, 13th May, 2022, saying that the UAE bids farewell its leader and a national icon, a generous man who dedicated his whole life to serving his country and humanity as a whole.

In an editorial by The National on Saturday titled, "Sheikh Khalifa: bedrock of the UAE's present and guiding hand to its future", the paper said that the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed was known for his openness to new ideas, noting that the UAE today has achieved one of the highest levels of public trust in government in the world.

The paper said that Sheikh Khalifa's initiatives were many. Among the most significant, was one in 2005 to reform the UAE's Federal National Council to involve public elections for half of its seats. By 2011, the number of Emiratis given the right to vote for FNC elections had increased 20-fold, to 130,000.

A keen conservationist, he also created the country's environment ministry, which has since grown under his leadership to become the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, thus the UAE has become an environmental leader in the region.

The National also stated that the country’s economic diversification and expanded industries, including space, were part of Sheikh Khalifa’s vision for the future of the UAE. Today, the country has the region's highest portion of women in government and is one of the safest countries in the world.

The Abu Dhabi daily concluded by saying, "For so many years, Sheikh Khalifa was the bedrock of the UAE's present, and the steadfast, guiding hand of its future. He will rest as a most cherished part of its past – his example the standard-bearer for the extraordinary values the country represents today, and a lodestar for where it intends to go. And for now, during these days of mourning, the nation will reflect on his legacy and be grateful for his leadership.

In an another editorial in Khaleej Times entitled, "Sheikh Khalifa: An icon of tolerance", the daily said that Sheikh Khalifa was a tolerant humanitarian, a towering example of what a modern leader should be, and the world’s tallest building in Dubai rightly bears his name for his achievements as President of the UAE for 18 years. As a moderniser, he was responsible for streamlining government ministries and their work.

The daily added that the building blocks of the nation were laid by Sheikh Zayed, the foundations were solid. Sheikh Khalifa’s task was to strengthen the structure of government and make it responsive to the aspirational needs of Emiratis who were growing into their roles as global citizens and slowly making a mark on international affairs.

The UAE, under Sheikh Khalifa, presented a new model of tolerance in an era strewn with strife. The country now has tolerance and happiness ministers.

"The UAE and tolerance are two sides of the same coin and is an embodiment of people’s lifelong endeavour to achieve through history," he said. In a first, a Catholic Pope visited the UAE in 2019 in a sign of growing rapprochement between the East and the West via the Middle East. This spirit of tolerance has since spread far and wide, and the Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020 doused the flames that threatened the very foundations of modern civilisation.

"The UAE matched its words with action and funding by rebuilding communities globally. Today, the UAE is the largest donor of humanitarian aid relative to national income, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development," concluded Khaleej Times.

Meanwhile, the Gulf News' editorial "The UAE and the world lost a great, visionary leader in Sheikh Khalifa" said that the world lost a great man. A leader with a vision who led his young nation in the past 18 years to become a global hub for business and trade, an attractive destination for talent and investment and an empowered society that looks to the next 50 years with confidence.

Since 2004, the UAE has witnessed an accelerated rise in the quality of life, which led the country to top almost every global development index.

Economically, he paid special attention to the development of the energy sector, the oil and gas and the downstream industries to help speed up the economic diversification. The sector, under his guidance, also saw the successful operation of the Arab region’s first multi-unit nuclear plant that turned the UAE into a regional hub for renewable and clean energy.

Sheikh Khalifa leaves an extraordinarily rich legacy. A leader, father of the nation and a pioneer. The world will always remember his active foreign policy that promoted peace and moderation in the region and internationally.

"The world will remember him most as a great philanthropist who probably contributed more than most global figures to the relief of the less fortunate worldwide donating to fighting hunger, poverty, disease and illiteracy. His humanitarian foundation was a key donor to the United Nations’ agencies that help refugees, the displaced and victims of calamities across the world," concluded the Dubai-based daily.

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