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Sheikh Khalifa's statement on National Day

posted on 02/12/2005: 2037 views

Following is the full text of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's statement on the 34th national day of the UAE.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, My dear countrymen and women, Today we celebrate the 34th anniversary of a glorious day in the history of our nation. On December 2, 1971, we started the march towards these great achievements that have covered all parts of our dear nation. It was the day that saw the unity of our words and determination giving birth to the United Arab Emirates and all what we enjoy today: political stability, strong economy, educated and trained manpower resources, progress, prosperity and security, as well as diplomatic, trade, cultural and humanitarian relations which extend to all countries of the world, thus establishing a sound regional and international ties that are based on vision, moderation, balanced policy, support for the truth and justice, and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.

We remember on this blessed day, with deep regards and utmost appreciation, the history of the founders of our great federation. We remember with prayers the founder of this nation: the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nu'aimi, the late Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi and the late Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Mualla (may their souls rest in perfect peace) and may Allah the Almighty have mercy and bless all those who had contributed in one way or the other in building this prosperous state.

The federation that we see today as a civil, political, social and economic reality did not come as a gift or grant nor did it come on a silver platter. It came as a result of good and strenuous efforts by our founding fathers, who translated the idea from their heart and mind to the reality that we live in today. They strived to build and consolidate the pillars of this nation, to build a system that entrenches the rule of law and due process. They strived to establish a federal system of governance capable of developing and living up to the test of time.

We owe them great respect and loyalty and to them we express our profound gratitude and appreciation for their tremendous contributions to the building of this prosperous nation. We pray for Allah's blessings and mercy on the souls of those who had departed this world. We also pray for good health and long life for those who still live and continue to give their utmost best to this nation.

The history of those great men is an important source from which this nation derives its pride, strength, aspirations, security and capability to face challenges. This is because any nation that does not honour its leaders is not worth dying for. Such a nation does not have a good future. Good nations maintain their identity and characteristics by preserving their history and heritage and seeking inspiration from the good works of their leaders. Achieving these objectives requires from us hard and well-organised work: all cultural, educational and academic institutions must actively participate in teaching the young generations their ancestors' civil and cultural heritage and the great contributions these leaders made in the building of this great nation.

The federation that we celebrate today reflects loyalty, sense of belonging, responsibility, national identity, great efforts, selflessness and a reality of a living condition. It is an investment in our human resources which is the major target of our development and our programmes. This is in continuation of what our pioneers have begun. It is to consolidate the development that would judiciously tap the energy of the youth and urge them on to work in a good and creative way. The strengthening of our federation march and national unity, and our continuous pursuance of sustainable development require hard work to boost the existing strong cooperation between the local and federal authorities.

We also need to push forward for more fruitful coordination for our common good. This is to be done within the framework of mutual trust and highest level of cooperation. It also requires all federal institutions to play their national roles in facing with the highest degree of responsibility and transparency all forms of challenges and problems confronting the nation. Considering the developments in our region, which is now witnessing transformation and reforms, the years ahead in our blessed march require a bigger role for the Federal National Council by empowering it to be an authority that would provide great support and guidance for the executive arm of the government.

We shall work to make the Council more capable, more effective and more sensitive to the issues affecting the nation and the people. This would be done by ensuring a more participatory process and the entrenchment of "Shura" (consultations) policy. And through a gradual, organised course, we have decided to start activating the role of the FNC through electing half of its members through councils for each emirate and appointing the other half.

By doing this, we will embark on a march that culminates in more participation and interaction from all the citizen of the country. My dear countrymen and women, Today, we stand at a threshold of a new era, whose ultimate objective is to entrench the rule of law and due process, accountability, transparency and equal opportunity.

In order to achieve these objectives the years ahead require the rebuilding, restructuring, re-arrangement and rehabilitation of all existing government bodies and structures. We have already begun preparing for the new era by promulgating legislations, taking some regulatory measures on the existing departments, institutions, activities and relations. This is to tighten the lose ends, straighten the curves, put an end to wrongdoings, get rid of bad nuts, improve production and services and guide efforts in order to develop the institutions, structures and activities, and to encourage promising cadres. It is also to prepare the ground for a successful launch to the horizon of the 21st century.

It is high time for our political, religious, cultural, information, educational and civil society institutions to stand up to their responsibilities to instill in our society the values of love for work, to change the negative perceptions about vocational work. It is high time to make them understand the true meaning of work - that it means responsibility and reflects human, civil and religious values. These institutions also need to work hard to diversify the skills of the national human resources, to raise productivity, encourage investment in human resources development, improve voluntary work and create awareness on this noble work and its significance to individuals and the society in general.

There is a need to improve the means and methods of voluntary works by encouraging and facilitating the establishment of specialised voluntary organizations that aim at bringing development to the society. There is also a need for the educational, media, cultural and sporting institutions to increase their level of attention and efforts in educating UAE nationals about the significance of voluntary works and to urge them on to get actively involved in this noble practice. This can be done by including voluntary work in the civic education curricula at the various educational levels.

In this regard, the media is also required to highlight on national issues and especially those affecting the people. The media need to spread awareness on the essence and significance of work as embodying religious, humanitarian, social and civic values for the development of individuals and the society in general. This is to be done in an atmosphere of responsible freedom and high-level professionalism that is built on accuracy and objectivity, professionalism that has great respect for the truth and common sense.

Fellow countrymen, Our foreign policy is grounded on firm basis and clear principles of mutual respect, good neighbourliness, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, building of relations that serve mutual interests, promotion of the spirit of cooperation, resolution of conflicts through peaceful means, commitment to Arab, Islamic and international conventions, promotion of global peace and stability and support for just causes. These are the values and principles that continue to guide our foreign policy in its four domains , namely the GCC, Arab, Islamic and international spheres.

On the GCC level, we will continue to coordinate and consult with our brethren, the GCC leaders, with the aim of reinforcing the efficiency of our organisation which is now about to celebrate its silver jubilee. We will continue our endeavors to enhance the role of the GCC in maintaining regional peace and also in reinforcing socio-economic and political integration in a manner that serves the best interests and aspirations of our peoples.

In this respect, we look forward to a successful 26th GCC summit which will be held in Abu Dhabi from 18-19th this month. It is our hope that the GCC leaders would be able to arrive at resolutions that would reinforce the inter-GCC cooperation and address current Arab and global challenges.

A common GCC vision and approach to problems will certainly add momentum to the role being played by the GCC within the wider regional Arab framework. On this occasion, we value and salute the sincere efforts of the GCC leaders to affirm the right of the UAE over its occupied islands. In particular, we value the support rendered to us by the GCC leaders for devising a mechanism for direct talks between us and Iran , so as to reach a just solution that would set the relations between countries of the region on a firm basis. This approach underscores our keenness to achieve regional and global peace and stability.

On the Arab level, we will continue to support common Arab cooperation through the Arab League and its specialised organisations. We are also keen to promote our bilateral relations with all Arab countries. In this context, we would like to re-affirm our support for the unity of Iraq and its people. We are deeply pained and concerned by the deterioration of the security situation and the continuous bombings, violence, terrorism, kidnappings and killings of innocent civilians.

It is our hope that recent political developments in the country- notably the endorsement of the constitution, the convening of the preliminary meeting for the national reconciliation conference and the upcoming legislative elections- would constitute the basis for a new united Iraq that would hopefully stage a strong comeback to Arab and international arena.

A united, stable and secure Iraq is not only an asset to Arab national security but also to global peace and stability.

On the Palestinian question, we have closely been following recent developments, notably the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

We hope that this withdrawal would be followed by similar withdrawals from the occupied Arab territories so that the Palestinian people would have the opportunity to establish their own independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, as provided for in the UN resolutions and international peace initiatives, notably the Road Map and Arab Peace Initiative. We believe that these two plans constitute the framework for resolving the Middle East Conflict.

To alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, we launched our initiative to build a city in Rafah on the ashes of the Israeli settlement. This is in addition to other projects.

On Sudan, the UAE supports the constructive efforts being adopted by Sudan which culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). We hereby re-affirm our full support to Arab and international efforts that are underway to rebuild the war-torn areas. We wish that peace, security and prosperity will prevail in that sisterly country.

On our relations with Islamic countries, it must be noted that these relations are based on mutual respect, cooperation , unification of Muslim ranks and reaching out to those in need.

It should also be noted that our readiness to reach out to brethren who need our support stems from our Islamic values.

It is against this background that the UAE leadership and people stood by the side of their Pakistani brethren when a devastating earthquake hit that country recently. It was also in this context that I ordered our Armed Forces to urgently dispatch search and rescue teams in addition to urgent relief supplies. We are really proud of the role being played by our Armed Forces as well as by the Red Crescent Society (RCS) and other charity organisations to alleviate the suffering of those affected during the earthquake.

On the issue of terrorism, we have strongly condemned the vicious terrorist bombings that hit the sisterly and friendly countries of Egypt, Jordan and the United Kingdom.

We have expressed our full solidarity with the governments and people of those countries in the face of this menace. The threat of terrorism requires a strong stand so that it is decisively uprooted.

It is a virulent threat that should be weeded out not only because it destabilises nations but also because it is inconsistent with all human values.

Our foreign policy is built on principles of mutual respect, understanding, dialogue and cooperation, condemnation of all forms of terrorism, violence and fundamentalism, and observance of all international laws and accords. We stand in support of every call for peace that can save the world from serious perils.

Fellow countrymen, I take the opportunity of this glorious occasion to congratulate and salute my brethren- Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates for transforming our federation into a viable entity. They succeeded in realising the aspirations of our people. I also congratulate our young men and women in uniform for their patriotism and dedication to protect their country. My congratulations also go to our security forces and the police for their vigilance so that our country remains an oasis of peace and security.

I also extend my congratulations and salutations to the UAE people and expatriate residents of friendly and sisterly countries whose sincere contribution in the development of our country is highly valued.

I conclude by reiterating that the formidable achievements that we have made over the years must be safeguarded through unity of ranks and tenacity to the spirit of federation . It is in this federation that our supreme interest lies. It is also to our federation that we owe allegiance. We pray to Allah the All Mighty to grace us with success so that we continue lead us people into greater and sustained prosperity.


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