President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday, May 13, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
Sheikh Khalifa died today, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs mourns the death of the nation’s President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” the statement read.
The Ministry has also established a 40-day period of formal mourning for the late His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with the flag flying at half-mast beginning today. Starting Saturday (tomorrow), work in ministries, departments, federal and local institutions, and the business sector will be suspended for three days, with work resumed on Tuesday.
Sheikh Khalifa was the UAE’s second President and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s 16th Ruler. On the 3rd of November 2004, he acquired the federal constitutional authority as President of the UAE and became Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, replacing his late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who died on the 2nd of November 2004.
Sheikh Khalifa was born in 1948 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi’s eastern part and had his elementary education in the city of Al Ain, which served as the territory’s administrative center. Sheikha Hissa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is his mother, and he is the eldest son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Khalifa hails from the Bani Yas tribe, which is considered the mother clan of most of the Arab tribes established in what is now the United Arab Emirates. This tribe was the leader of an Arab tribal alliance known as the ‘Bani Yas Alliance.’
In every stage of his life, he followed his late father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. On September 18, 1966, he was appointed as the Ruler’s Representative and Chief of Courts in the Eastern Region for the first time. In his life, this role was quite important. Sheikh Khalifa had the opportunity to interact with UAE inhabitants on a daily basis while staying in Al Ain, and he became aware of their needs, aspirations, and expectations.
On the 1st of February 1969, he was appointed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and head of the defense department. Sheikh Khalifa acquired command of the emirate’s defense force and played a vital role in its development, transforming it from a modest force to a multifunctional outfit equipped with cutting-edge technology.
Sheikh Khalifa was appointed President of the first local Cabinet for the emirate of Abu Dhabi on May 1, 1971, and assumed the defense and finance ministries in the Cabinet.
He occupied the role of ‘Vice President of the Cabinet of the Federal Government’, which was founded in December 1973, in addition to his local responsibilities following the declaration of the federal state.
Sheikh Khalifa became the first President of the Executive Council, which replaced the emirate’s Cabinet, in February 1974, following the annulment of the local Cabinet.
Sheikh Khalifa monitored and followed up on development initiatives throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi during his time as President of the Executive Council. His Highness paid close attention to infrastructure projects and the growth of numerous services. He also worked to create a modern administrative apparatus and completely integrated legislative norms, which he saw as critical to the process of social and economic growth.
He was in charge of the founding and leadership of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1976, in addition to his duties as President of the Executive Council. This authority oversees the emirate’s financial investments as part of a long-term strategy for the development of financial resources and the preservation of a reliable source of revenue for future generations.
Sheikh Khalifa’s establishment of a social services and commercial buildings department, known as the ‘Sheikh Khalifa Committee,’ was one of his main development efforts with a significant societal impact. The department’s actions contributed to the development of construction activity in Abu Dhabi.
He was also appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, during which time he focused on the armed forces’ development. The armed services made significant progress in adopting new technologies and improved training methods under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership.
Sheikh Khalifa made a great contribution by formulating a military creed based on the state’s supreme policy of moderation, non-interference in others’ affairs, and mutual interest respect. He spared no effort in formulating a defense policy that protects the state’s independence, sovereignty, and interests. This policy has allowed the UAE Armed Forces to advance to a point where they are respected around the world.
Under his leadership, the UAE’s first strategic plan was launched shortly after he took office. Sheikh Khalifa also initiated a legislative authority development effort in order to change the method of selecting members of the Federal National Council by integrating the election and appointment processes as a first step. This was done so that members of the Council might be chosen through direct elections.
Sheikh Khalifa has a strong interest in sports in the UAE, particularly football. Local sports teams that win local, regional, and international acclaim and championships have received his support and acknowledgment.