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Statement by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed on the 44th UAE National Day

posted on 02/12/2015: 1720 views

On the occasion of the 44th National Day of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has issued a statement to Dira'a Al Watan, (The Nation's Shield) magazine.

Below is the statement in full.

"Dear brothers and sisters, Today we celebrate an important anniversary cherished by Emiratis and Arabs: the 44th anniversary of the UAE National Day. On a day like this in 1971, the dawn of the Union appeared and our nation embarked on its confident and victorious journey towards progress and development. Our nation's ambitions have become a reality, thanks to our wise leadership and the unity of our people, a reality embodied in the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by its 50th anniversary.

As we celebrate National Day each year, we remember with respect and gratitude our founding fathers, led by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace, who resolved to unite and overcome all obstacles and challenges. They were dedicated to building a united and strong nation that provides its people with security, peace and stability, without succumbing to a search for individual glory or to empty slogans and ideologies. They built the United Arab Emirates on solid ground materially, but also socially and culturally.

The road to building the Union was not an easy or smooth one, but was fraught with obstacles and challenges that our ancestors faced with determination, dedication and faith. They succeeded in building a united, strong nation that we should be proud of but that still requires effort and solidarity to protect and preserve its gains and defend it against threats. In protecting our union, we find inspiration in our founding fathers' absolute faith that a united people that follows its leadership will be resilient to threats and no challenge can prevent it from having a bright future. Our ancestors faced difficult circumstances to realise the dream of union and instil its ideals in the minds of Emiratis. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to work together, each in our own fields, to continue to make our nation unique and prosperous and to preserve it as a symbol of unity. The important lesson we learn from the past decades of our beloved union is that our unity is the source of our strength, and that all we have achieved as a secure and stable country amidst a turbulent region is because we were one people, united with its leadership.

Dear brothers and sisters, On the 44th anniversary of the founding of the UAE, we pay homage to our blessed martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in battles of duty and honour throughout UAE history, including our intrepid martyrs in Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen. We remember their heroism and sacrifice. We pay tribute as well to the families of martyrs who raised their sons to love their country enough to sacrifice their own lives for it. We reaffirm that the United Arab Emirates will never forget its martyrs and that their names will forever be engraved in the minds and hearts of our nation.

The determination of our leadership to honour our martyrs and provide full care for their families, on all levels, confirms the commitment of our nation towards its children who have sacrificed their lives for it.

The United Arab Emirates will continue to advocate just and legitimate causes, including those of the Yemeni people and their right to live in peace, stability and dignity, free from the conspiracies and aggressive practices of coup militias and those who support them. It will also continue to support its Arab brothers and provide them with all possible help, and protect Arab security against internal and external threats. On this basis, the UAE took part in the Arab Coalition led by the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to restore legitimacy in Yemen and liberate it from rebels serving their own agenda.

Dear brothers and sisters, The United Arab Emirates, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the assistance of his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers the Rulers of the Emirates, continues to progress with the welfare, security and development of Emiratis as the utmost priority in all development plans and programmes, present and future. Every year, Emiratis celebrate their National Day on the 2nd of December recognising the great development achievements that the nation has realised in the previous year and what it aspires to achieve in the next year. Our comprehensive development vision aspires to a leading position, concerns itself with the future as it does with the present, competes with full confidence based on proper planning and knowledge, and views our Emirati workforce as the most important national asset to be developed, cultivated and invested in.

On this special occasion, I address the younger generation, our greatest hope and resource in this blessed quest. Dear sons and daughters, the treasure of the nation, you will receive a great, precious country, with outstanding achievements upon which to build. You will shoulder the responsibility of taking it ahead towards new horizons of development and progress. The competitive challenges of the future are many but we are totally confident that you will be worthy of the responsibility with which you are entrusted. We have faith in your abilities in every domain. Be armed with faith, knowledge, skills and expertise and be loyal and dedicated, for it is to you that we will hand over the flag to continue the march of achievement and glory.

Despite a recent decline in oil prices, our development plans and future aspirations have not been affected. This is because we had realised at an early stage the danger of relying too heavily on oil as a source of income and have worked hard to build a more knowledge-based, diversified economy that can deliver sustainable development even in times of fluctuating oil prices or production. Therefore, we have focused on industrial development, tourism, renewable energy, space and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in addition to development projects that have provided our national economy with additional sources of income. At the Government Summit of 2015, I said that ‘In fifty years' time, we will celebrate the last barrel of oil'. I wanted to emphasise that oil was an exhaustible resource, and therefore we should lay down our future development plans based on this premise. The recent decline in oil prices reinforces the importance of economic diversification and the building of an economy that is based on knowledge and innovation, in order to achieve sustainable development for current and future generations.

Dear brothers and sisters, The Federal National Council's 2015 Elections demonstrated fair competition in the interest of the nation, among candidates from all seven emirates. The engagement of citizens, male and female, and their awareness of its importance, confirms the approach of the United Arab Emirates to a political process based on the principles of gradual development and consideration of the distinctive cultural nature of UAE society. Such a gradual approach preserves balance in society and guarantees that we achieve every step towards our goal of serving the nation and its citizens. In this way, every change is not an end in itself but a means to ensure that the interests of people and their wellbeing are met, by considering the cultural nature of UAE society, since every society has its own distinctive nature and what is good for one at a particular time may not necessarily be right for another.

We in the UAE are keen to increase popular participation and to strengthen the role of the Federal National Council, based on our belief that the FNC has a major role to perform with national awareness and responsibility. Through this role, the FNC joins the government in making national development projects a success within the framework of the empowerment programme launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2005. The UAE's evolving parliamentary process has been successful thanks to the cooperation and understanding of its participants, because the ultimate goal of every one is to serve the nation, away from any individual or factional goals or ideologies. I have full confidence that, given the deep national sense and the outstanding expertise of FNC members, the Council will be able to serve the UAE and its people on domestic and external levels, to bolster the Union's work and deepen national solidarity in cooperation with other government organisations. I am also confident that the UAE will continue to be a positive, distinguished model of constructive cooperation between the FNC and other parts of the government.

Through a clear vision, perseverance and dedicated work, we aspire to reinforce national achievements and gains and make the UAE an Arab and international success story. We aim to promote the role of institutions built on authentic values that stem from Islam and our traditions, on the values of justice, equality and loyalty, so as to allow everyone to participate in building and serving the nation. We aim to promote such values, to make them a beacon for the achievements of the UAE in a changing, volatile world.

Dear brothers and sisters, The scourge of terrorism has plagued the world, threatening the security of countries and societies. Recent terrorist attacks targeting civilians have reaffirmed the need for effective, concerted international efforts to face the forces and groups who practice, support or justify terror under the guise of Islam, despite their actions being contrary to its tolerant and human teachings that call for peace, cooperation and coexistence among mankind.

The war against terrorist groups of all types is a war against attempts to destroy human civilisation and its gains, and in such a war there is no choice but to prevail.

Within this context, the UAE firmly counters all forces of violence, extremism and terror using a threefold strategy. The first element in this strategy is promoting the values of tolerance, moderation and the acceptance of others as opposed to extremist, radical or immoderate ideologies, which terrorist forces seek to implant in the minds of young people around the world. The UAE has launched many pioneering initiatives in this regard that have earned the respect of the world. The second element in the strategy against terrorism is making effective efforts to achieve sustainable development in poorer regions around the world, because extremist groups thrive in poor and distressed regions and exploit the difficult living conditions of people to recruit and brainwash them. That is one reason why the UAE has been at the forefront of foreign development aid and topped the world's foreign development aid list in 2014, in relation to its GDP, according to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee. The third element is strong and effective involvement in any international effort to curb the expansion of terrorist groups and their attempts to control countries and societies by the force of terrorism. In this context, the UAE joined the global anti-ISIS (Daesh) alliance and is keen to liaise and cooperate with different countries regionally and internationally to build counter-terrorism strategies.

Throughout its history, the UAE has been a promoter of peace and a symbol of development and tolerance among people, cultures and civilisations. That is why it views extremism and violence as the biggest threat to the security and stability of societies, not only where they originate but across the world. Terrorist threats have an international dimension, and no society can consider itself immune from them. The UAE maintains that terrorism cannot be restricted to a certain people, religion or culture, necessitating an international effort to combat it.

Dear brothers and sisters, The Arab region and the Middle East are facing difficult, turbulent times, including civil wars, terror threats, foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries, in addition to changes in the region and the policies of other powers towards it. We in the UAE believe that our national security is part of Arab security and that building a strong Arab front to deal with the region's variables and transformations is the only way to protect Arab interests and immunise the region against foreign intervention. From this perspective, we have been keen to fully cooperate and liaise with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and other Arab countries, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt, in order to reinforce Arab capability for preserving national security in a region facing significant transformations and multiple threats.

In view of the different political, economic and cultural transformations that can occur, with their direct influence on all countries and societies, the UAE adheres to the principles that have governed its foreign policy and international relations since its inception. These principles have earned the UAE respect, appreciation and acceptance, both at home and abroad. Amongst these principles, the most important are mutual respect, reciprocity, rejection of foreign intervention in domestic affairs, solving disputes and problems in peaceful ways and promoting international cooperation to deal with global challenges that threaten the future of humanity, most significantly the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, epidemics, poverty, extremism and terrorism. In this context, the UAE chooses to take a multifaceted international approach, cooperating with all countries and building effective foreign relations based on equality, reinforcing its status and influence regionally and internationally, and reflecting positively on development projects at home.

Dear brothers and sisters, On this special national occasion, I congratulate President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers, Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates. I also congratulate my fellow citizens on the anniversary of UAE National Day, wishing our beloved nation further progress, prosperity and glory.

Peace be upon you all."


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