Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’

Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
1 / 7
Sheikh Khalifa presents a sash to US President George W. Bush Jan. 13, 2008 at the Al Mushref palace in Abu Dhabi. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
2 / 7
Oman's Sultan Qaboos (R) receives Sheikh Khalifa in Muscat on bin Zayed al-Nahayan Jan. 9, 2005. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
3 / 7
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip welcome Sheikh Khalifa at Windsor Castle during his state visit to Britain on April 30, 2013. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
4 / 7
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) meeting with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy at Al-Mushrif presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on May 26, 2009. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
5 / 7
Sheikh Khalifa meeting with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 6, 2009. (AFP)
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
6 / 7
Special Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
7 / 7
Sheikh Khalifa meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) in Abu Dhabi on April 29, 2007. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 14 May 2022

Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’

Middle East and world leaders mourn death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, praise ‘life rich in achievements’
  • Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, passed away on Friday aged 73
  • Warm tributes signify the high regard in which the departed leader was held

DUBAI: Messages of condolence have poured in from around the Middle East and the world following news of the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the UAE, at the age of 73 on Friday.

“The Emirates lost its righteous son, the leader of the ‘empowerment stage’ and the trustee of its blessed journey,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said in a tweet. “His stances, achievements, wisdom, giving and initiatives in every corner of the country. May God have mercy on you with his vast mercy and enter you into his paradise.”




Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity". (AFP)

Throughout the day, Gulf leaders offered messages of condolence to Al-Nahyan family and the Emirati people. In a statement published by SPA, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court said the news of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing had been “received with great sadness and sorrow.”

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 to the Arab and Islamic nations on passing away of a leader who has given a lot to his people, nation and the world.”

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Declaring three days of national mourning, Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik said: “The Sultanate shares the grief of the leadership, government and people of the brotherly United Arab Emirates in their great affliction.”

Also ordering three days of official mourning, Bahrain’s Royal Court “paid homage to the late UAE president who passed away after a life rich in achievements to serve the UAE people as well as the Arab and Islamic nations.”

 

 

In a statement issued by the Qatari Emiri Court, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said: “We have lost with his passing a great leader who was wise and moderate, who devoted his life and effort to serve his country and nation.”

Speaking for Kuwaitis, Emir Sheikh Nawaf said: “The Arab and Islamic nations have lost one of their leaders. The great man who devoted his life to serving his country and people and defending Arab and Islamic causes.”

Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), conveyed his heartfelt condolences, saying Sheikh Khalifa had lived “a life full of giving and giving in the service of his people, his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation.”




Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (R) receives King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 18, 2005. (WAM / AFP)

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, issued a statement of condolences addressed to the UAE leadership, government and people, adding that the Arab League will observe three days of mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast.

Leaders across the wider Middle East and North Africa also paid their respects. “With sincere sadness and sorrow, I mourn one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi tweeted on Friday.

“He gave a lot to his country and his nation, until the Emirates became a model for development and modernity in our region and the world.”

 

 

Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court likewise offered its condolences. “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,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II tweeted.

 

 

Iraq’s President Barham Salih said Sheikh Khalifa was a man “known for his wisdom and generosity for the sake of his homeland and the Arab and Islamic nation,” while Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said: “We are confident that the pioneering path that the late great man took will continue with the efforts of his country’s leadership and people.”

Several Lebanese officials expressed their sorrow via Twitter. “Today, the Arab nation lost one of its most prominent men,” Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister, said.

Arab leaders were not the only Middle East public figures who offered their condolences. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy and tremendous deeds are greatly admired in Israel. The State of Israel stands alongside the United Arab Emirates at this difficult time.”

 

 

Israel and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 2020 — the first of several US-backed normalization agreements between the Jewish state and Arab countries that year known as the Abraham Accords.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called Sheikh Khalifa’s death “a great loss for our friends in the UAE and for the whole region.”

He added: “Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries and is a great legacy for his successors.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered condolences to the UAE leadership and people, noting that Sheikh Khalifa “led the UAE through a significant period of its development, marked by great economic advances and a surge in its regional and global influence.”  

 

 

Meanwhile, in a letter to his UAE counterpart, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “grief and regret” over Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

Messages also arrived from further afield. The Indian government announced a day of mourning on Saturday.

“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, the government of India has decided that there will be one day’s state mourning tomorrow throughout India,” the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted he was “deeply saddened” by the news, saying Sheikh Khalifa “was a great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered.”

 

 

US President Joe Biden paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, calling the departed Emirati leader a “true partner and friend of the United States.”

“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,” Biden said.

 

 

“Sheikh Khalifa did much to strengthen friendly relations and constructive cooperation,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, while French President Emmanuel Macron said his “thoughts go out to his brother Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, to his whole family and to the Emirati people.”

Italian President Sergio Mattarella also offered his condolences, saying he would remember Sheikh Khalifa for his “tenacity and farsightedness.”

In a message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, now the acting president of the UAE, Mattarella said he “learned with sadness the news of the passing of His Highness Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” who, he added, had led his country on “an important path” of growth and development.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “saddened” to learn of Sheikh Khalifa’s passing. “He was a wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously. Through his work as president and sheikh he has made a personal contribution to regional stability and conservation which will long be remembered.

 

 

“I know that the long and deep ties which unite our countries will continue and through our cooperation and friendship, we can ensure peace, prosperity and justice in the world.”

Tony Blair, the UK’s former prime minister, who continues to foster a close relationship with the Middle East and its leaders, shared his “deep sorrow” upon learning of Sheikh Khalifa’s death.

“On this sad occasion I recall the president’s long and distinguished career as a public servant. He was respected not only in his country but throughout the wider region and the world.”

Born in 1948, the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the country’s seven cities and until 1971 an independent emirate.

Sheikh Khalifa led the UAE as it began its rise to become a global oil and commercial power. He leaves behind his wife Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al-Mazrouei and their eight children.

Sheikh Khalifa is likely to be succeeded by Sheikh Mohammed, the crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.


Turkey re-evaluating death penalty after Erdogan’s wildfires comment — minister

Turkey re-evaluating death penalty after Erdogan’s wildfires comment — minister
Updated 10 sec ago

Turkey re-evaluating death penalty after Erdogan’s wildfires comment — minister

Turkey re-evaluating death penalty after Erdogan’s wildfires comment — minister
ISTANBUL: Turkey will reconsider a 2004 decision to abolish capital punishment, the justice minister said on Saturday, after President Tayyip Erdogan raised the death penalty in connection with the cause of this week’s wildfires.
Capital punishment was struck from the constitution in the early years of Erdogan’s rule. But after a suspected deliberate blaze destroyed 4,500 hectares (11,119 acres) of Aegean coastal forest, Erdogan said tougher justice was needed.
Authorities have said that a suspect detained in connection with the fire has admitted to causing it. The blaze, in woodland near the resort of Marmaris, has been contained, authorities said on Saturday.
After visiting the scene on Friday, Erdogan said the punishment for burning forests should be “intimidating, and if that’s a death sentence, it’s a death sentence.”
Speaking to reporters in the eastern town of Agri on Saturday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the president’s comments “are instructions to us.”
“We have started working on it as the ministry,” Bozdag said, adding that the current punishment for starting wildfires was 10 years in prison, rising to a possible life sentence if part of organized crime.
The country’s first big blaze of the summer began on Tuesday and conjured memories of last year’s fires which ravaged 140,000 hectares of countryside, the worst on record.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Thursday that the detained suspect had admitted to burning down the forest out of frustration due to family issues.
Local officials told Reuters in recent days that authorities lacked the necessary equipment and personnel for another summer of fires.
On Friday, Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci said 88 percent of forest fires in Turkey were started by people.

Groups in Spain and Morocco push for border deaths inquiry

Groups in Spain and Morocco push for border deaths inquiry
Updated 25 June 2022

Groups in Spain and Morocco push for border deaths inquiry

Groups in Spain and Morocco push for border deaths inquiry
  • The Moroccan Human Rights Association reported 27 dead but the figure could not immediately be confirmed
  • APDHA, a human rights group based in Andalusia, and a joint statement released by five rights organizations in Morocco also called for inquiries

MADRID: Human rights organizations in Spain and Morocco have called on both countries to investigate the deaths of at least 18 Africans and injuries suffered by dozens more who attempted to scale the border fence that surrounds Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.
Moroccan authorities said the casualties occurred when a “stampede” of people tried to climb the iron fence that separates Melilla and Morocco. In a statement released Friday, Morocco’s Interior Ministry said 76 civilians were injured along with 140 Moroccan security officers.
Local authorities cited by Morocco’s official MAP news agency said the death toll increased to 18 after several migrants died in the hospital. The Moroccan Human Rights Association reported 27 dead, but the figure could not immediately be confirmed.
The association also shared videos on social media that appeared to show dozens of migrants lying on the ground, many of them motionless and a few bleeding, as Moroccan security forces stood over them.
“They were left there without help for hours, which increased the number of deaths,” the human rights group said on Twitter. It called for a “comprehensive” investigation.
In another of the association’s videos, a Moroccan security officer appeared to use a baton to strike a person lying on the ground.
In a statement released late Friday, Amnesty International expressed its “deep concern” over the events at the border.
“Although the migrants may have acted violently in their attempt to enter Melilla, when it comes to border control, not everything goes,” Esteban Beltrán, the director of Amnesty International Spain, said. “The human rights of migrants and refugees must be respected and situations like that seen cannot happen again.”
APDHA, a human rights group based in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, and a joint statement released by five rights organizations in Morocco also called for inquiries.
A spokesperson for the Spanish government’s office in Melilla said that around 2,000 people had attempted to make it across the border fence but were stopped by Spanish Civil Guard Police and Moroccan forces on either side of the border fence. A total 133 migrants made it across the border.


Iranian girl, 4, dies after being left in car under summer sun

Iranian girl, 4, dies after being left in car under summer sun
Updated 25 June 2022

Iranian girl, 4, dies after being left in car under summer sun

Iranian girl, 4, dies after being left in car under summer sun
  • Parents forgot the girl due to ‘stress’ about the funeral they were attending

LONDON: A 4-year-old Iranian girl has died after her parents left her in their car for hours while they attended a funeral service, local government officials reported.

The child, whose forename Sadia has been released, traveled with her family to Ramhormoz, a city in the east of the country, as temperatures hit 49 degrees Celsius.

Her parents allegedly left her in the car for the entire service because she fell asleep on the way to the funeral.

Local media reported that they forgot about her because they were “stressed” about the funeral.

Dr. Gholamreza Haidarnejad, from the city’s forensics department, said Sadia died from heat stroke and suffocation, which was complicated by stress. A police investigation has been launched.


EU’s Borrell says Iran nuclear talks to resume in coming days

EU’s Borrell says Iran nuclear talks to resume in coming days
Updated 25 June 2022

EU’s Borrell says Iran nuclear talks to resume in coming days

EU’s Borrell says Iran nuclear talks to resume in coming days
  • France urged Tehran to take advantage of Borrell’s visit to restore the pact while it remained possible

DUBAI: Talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal will resume in the coming days, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday during a visit to Tehran.
“We will resume the talks on the JCPOA in the coming days,” Borrell told a news conference in the Iranian capital, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Borrell met Iran’s top diplomat on Saturday, Iranian state TV reported, as the bloc seeks to break an impasse between Tehran and Washington over reinstating a nuclear pact.
The United States said earlier in June it was awaiting a constructive response from Iran on reviving the 2015 deal — under which Iran restricted its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions — without “extraneous” issues.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian last week called on Washington, which exited the deal and then imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran during the Trump administration in 2018, to “be realistic.”
It appeared on the brink of revival in March when the EU, which is coordinating negotiations, invited ministers to Vienna to seal it after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and President Joe Biden’s administration.
But the talks have since been bogged down, chiefly over Tehran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.
Two officials, one Iranian and one European, told Reuters ahead of Borrell’s trip that “two issues including one on sanctions remained to be resolved,” comments that Iran’s foreign ministry has neither denied nor confirmed.
France, a party to the deal, on Friday urged Tehran to take advantage of Borrell’s visit to restore the pact while it remained possible.


Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Palestinian sources

Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Palestinian sources
Updated 25 June 2022

Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Palestinian sources

Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Palestinian sources
  • Mohammad Hamad, 16, was shot and wounded near the village of Silwad

RAMALLAH: A Palestinian teenager died from his wounds hours after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said Saturday.
Mohammad Hamad, 16, was shot and wounded on Friday evening near the village of Silwad, near Ramallah in the northern West Bank, and died hours later, a Silwad councillor told AFP. The Israeli military did not immediately comment.
The teenager was near a road leading to the neighboring settlement of Ofra when he was wounded by Israeli soldiers, the councillor said.
His death comes amid a spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Nineteen people, mostly Israeli civilians — including 18 inside Israel and a Jewish settler — have been killed in attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs since late March.
Israeli security forces have responded with raids inside Israel and in the West Bank in which three Israeli Arab attackers and at least 46 Palestinians have been killed.
Among those killed were suspected militants but also non-combatants, including an Al Jazeera journalist who was covering a raid in Jenin.