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REPORTS - NATIONAL DAY 2007

Mohammed bin Zayed attends poetry night on the occasion of the UAE National day
posted on 09/12/2007

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended on yesterday evening a poetry reading by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, on the occasion of the UAE 36th National Day anniversary. The poetry recitation evening was also attended by a number of Sheikhs, ministers, senior officials, dignitaries, poets and poetry lovers. Sheikh Hamdan opened the night with a 83 verse-national poem he dedicated to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his father H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to Sheikh Mohammed and the people of the UAE. Sheikh Hamdan also praised exploits and feats of the founding fathers of the UAE - the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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35 Pakistani publications highlight UAE achievements
posted on 09/12/2007

Islamabad - 35 Pakistani dailies, weeklies and supplements have published quotations of the speech delivered by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the third summit of heads of state and government of OPEC member countries which was held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 17 and 18 November 2007.Quotations of the speech by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai announcing the launch of "Dubai Cares" campaign were also published in the said papers.
The publications which are issued in English, Urdu and other Pakistani local languages and include Pakistan's press majors Dawn, The Nation, Observer and Daily Times, also highlighted the UAE achievements and humanitarian, social care and development projects funded by the UAE in areas hit by the earthquakes in 2005, Kashmir and other Pakistani provinces. They also published special reports on humanitarian projects implemented by UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA).
The Pakistani publications also highlighted the UAE-Pakistan bilateral relations. The number of projects set up in Pakistan by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and later by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan amount to 250, according to the publications which said the UAE private and public investments in Pakistan amount to 20 US dollars. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Lebanese newspaper hails UAE achievements
posted on 09/12/2007

Beirut - The Lebanese daily "Al Anwar" hailed the progress the UAE had achieved in various fields. In a main article on the UAE's 36th National Day anniversary, the paper attributed the great economic and cultural accomplishments of the UAE to the wise leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates. "The success the UAE is basking in today mirrors the great efforts made by the country's leadership to achieve further progress and prosperity to the people of the UAE," it said.
The paper said that Sheikh Khalifa possesses a rich experience he acquired by being close to his father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The paper also praised H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, describing him as "one of the most prominent Arab reformers of our time." It also paid tribute to General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces as "a symbol of young, ambitious leaders who always seeks the best." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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UAE National Day celebrated in India
posted on 05/12/2007

New Delhi - The UAE National Day was celebrated in the Indian capital last night with a festive reception at the UAE Embassy by Ambassador Abdulla Ebrahim A Alzoy Al Shehhi.Delhi's Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna attended the reception and reaffirmed the strong ties between the two countries. A large number of dignitaries were present on the occasion. In a statement on the occasion, Shehhi said pointed out that the UAE believed in non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful resolution of disputes, together with support for international institutions such as the United Nations. These policies were based on the guiding principles as laid down by the founder of the state, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
A documentary film showcasing the tremendous progress of the UAE since its formation on 2nd December 1971, was widely applauded by the guests as the direction of the UAE leadership has been manifold not only towards prosperity but also directed at empowering its people with education, good health, ecological balance, equal opportunities for women, stability and secure peace. Besides the film, prepared by the National Media Council, the Ambassador also released a booklet on Indo-UAE relations. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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UAE Embassy in Seoul celebrates national day anniversary
posted on 05/12/2007

Seoul - A reception celebrating the National Day of the United Arab Emirates was held at Hotel Shilla in downtown Seoul yesterday. More than 400 well wishers joined the function. The guests included senior Korean government officials, members of South Korea's National Assembly, heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Seoul, local and international businesspeople, UAE nationals living in Korea. From the South Korean government came Minister of Information and Communications Yoo Young-Hwan.
In his key note address, Ambassador Abdulla Al-Maainah conveyed his congratulations and best wishes to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council Rulers of the Emirates, as well as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the happy occasion.
He said December 2 will always be a day of honour in the history of the UAE, adding that despite its short history, the UAE has taken giant strides in progress and has been transformed into modern developed state pointing out that Sheikh Zayed left behind an impressive legacy, a huge legacy that speaks of itself in various fields of human development.
On bilateral relations between the UAE and Korea, UAE envoy noted that two-way trade between the two countries totalled $15.8 billion last year and in the area of investment, the UAE invests $1.93 billion in Korea, while Korean investors are very active in the UAE markets.
The UAE is ready to cooperate with Korea and promote its investments and encourage joint economic projects, in response to the policy direction and ambitions of our leaders aim at increasing the prospects of cooperation that serves the mutual benefits, he said.
He then thanked the government and the friendly people of Korea for their cooperation and genuine support, which, he said, enabled him to discharge his duties efficiently. With major economic development projects achieved within a record time span of three decades, the country is now laying greater emphasis on empowerment of its people, a task which was clearly spelt out recently by the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to the UAE envoy. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Longest greeting letter to Khalifa
posted on 04/12/2007

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Minister of Presidential Affairs, participated yesterday morning in signing the longest greeting letter in the world, presented to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the occasion of the 36th National Day anniversary.
He signed this letter of greeting addressed to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Their Highness, the Rulers of the emirates and General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
This lengthy letter, which is 250 meters long and 20.1 meters wide, has been taken in a procession from Fujairah through all the different emirates to Abu Dhabi. 22 young women from Gulf and Arab countries have participated in this procession on bikes carrying this letter signed by UAE nationals and residents and visitors from Arab and foreign countries. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Ministry of Culture marks 36th national day anniversary
posted on 04/12/2007

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development held last night here at Marina Mall a number of activities, to mark the 36th national day anniversary. Ahmed Al Hadabi, coordinator of the ministry's national day celebrations for the emirate of Abu Dhabi, said the celebrations were well attended by the general public, adding that the military music band and cultural troupe entertained the attendees. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Folklore dancers greet passengers at Abu Dhabi Int'l Airport
posted on 04/12/2007

Travellers through Abu Dhabi International Airport were accorded a colourful reception on Sunday as part of the Airport's celebration of the 36th anniversary of the UAE National Day. Both outbound and incoming passengers were able to catch a glimpse of the UAE rich culture as young local men performed some of the most popular traditional dances. One of those is "Harbiya" which depicts victory and celebrates pride in power and courage and is performed at weddings and other happy occasions.
The wonderful aroma of incense smoke wafting through the air, and the dancers' brisk moves and chants lent a festive atmosphere to the terminal building while chaps in traditional dress toured the place offering Arabian coffee and dates to passengers. Female travellers were offered the chance to try the henna tattoo at a special kiosk dedicated for this purpose.
"It is a source of pride for us to share with our guests the celebration of this dearest occasion. As a gateway to Abu Dhabi and the UAE, Abu Dhabi International Airport is always keen on enhancing cultural interaction between the UAE and the rest of the world," Mohammed Al Katheeri, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), said. "I hope travellers have enjoyed and cherished the memory of those moments and we surely are happy to have the chance to show them part of our rich heritage and deep-rooted traditions," he added. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Corniche parade revisits nation's colourful history
posted on 04/12/2007

The Corniche was transformed on Monday into a festive place as a parade marched here as part of the UAE 36th National Day celebrations. The parade was organised by the Emirates Heritage Club. "This event is in unity with other National Day events. We are celebrating our present and our future," said Mohammad Al Neyadi, director of the Emirates Heritage Club. Three trucks were turned into floats to display the historical events of the country. There was music, a display showing a Bedouin camp and rural life. Alongside the floats, a military band and a cavalry unit marched to the strains of the national anthem. People watched as Bedouin women rode on camels. The parade lasted for 30 minutes throughout the stretch of the Corniche. Several other parades are scheduled for this week in line with the week-long celebration of the UAE National Day. (Gulf News)

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UAE Embassy in Singapore celebrates National Day
posted on 03/12/2007

Singapore - The UAE Embassy in Singapore has held a reception to mark the 36th UAE National Day. A number of senior Singaporean government officials, including Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Minister of Manpower, Mr. Arthur Fong and Dr. Faisal Ibrahim, both members of parliament, as well as heads of diplomatic missions, businessmen and UAE nationals residents in Singapore, attended the reception.

In his key note address, Asim Mirza Al Rahmah, Minister Plenipotentiary and Charge d'Affaires at the UAE Embassy, conveyed his congratulations and best wishes to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council Rulers of the Emirates, as well as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the happy occasion.

He said December 2 will always be a day of honour in the history of the UAE, adding that despite its short history, the UAE has taken giant strides in progress and has been transformed into modern developed state.

On bilateral relations between the UAE and Singapore, Al Rahmah said bilateral trade has reached 11.6 billion Singaporean dollar with more leading companies from UAE operating from Singapore. "The UAE is keen to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation between our countries to strengthen its role as a gateway for each other in their respective region through the strategic economic partnership with Singapore through Abu Dhabi," he said.

He thanked the government and the friendly people of the Republic of Singapore for their cooperation and genuine support, which, he said, enabled him to discharge his duties efficiently. "The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates reiterates its commitment to guard and further strengthen these genuine relations and cooperation between our two friendly countries," he added. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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New balloon is launched in Abu Dhabi
posted on 03/12/2007

The Emirates Balloon Team has launch-ed a balloon bearing the photograph of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Under the patronage of Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Board Chairman of the Abu Dhabi International Club for Marine Sports, it bears the name, the Khalifa balloon. Captain Pilot Abdul Aziz Nasser congratulated Sheikh Khalifa, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers, General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and UAE nationals, on the 36th National Day. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Largest ever aerial banner flies over Abu Dhabi
posted on 03/12/2007

The world's largest flag was displayed above Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon as celebrations for the 36th UAE National Day got under way.
The 50,000 square foot flag of the UAE was towed by helicopter above the Corniche. Alongside the flag 52 boats participated in the national rowing race.
The Abu Dhabi Corniche turned into a parade ground on Saturday night as thousands of decorated vehicles drove up and down the stretch, with occupants honking, dancing and singing in celebration.
Thousands of bystanders watched from both sides of the Corniche. Flags were draped on cars and children painted their faces with the colours of the flag.
"As you can see we are celebrating the great success of this nation," 25-year-old Abdul Basel Abdullah said as he pointed to the towers along the Corniche decorated with festive lights.
Falcon Aviation Services LLC (FAS), a wholly owned company of Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nayhan, Member of the Executive Council, took to the skies over Abu Dhabi to set a new world record for the largest aerial banner ever flown.
Measuring over 50,000 square feet in size the banner was towed under a Bell 412 Aircraft supplied by Evergreen Helicopters who are partners with FAS in providing Search and Rescue services to the UAE Armed Forces. The previous record had been held by IKEA in Australia. The banner depicting the UAE flag was visible from up to 20 kilometres and the route was designed to take the flag right across the capital making it visible to virtually the entire population of the city of Abu Dhabi.
The idea for the sky high celebration on UAE National Day came initially from Sheikh Sultan and the Chairman of FAS, Captain Salem Al Kayoumi, after the FAS had initiated operations to conduct an aerial banner towing as part of its growing aviation business. "What better way to celebrate our nation's birthday than to proudly display the UAE Flag not only to Abu Dhabi and the UAE, but to the rest of the world as well," said Captain Al Kayoumi.
The banner was supplied by UK-based Heli Banners. The record-breaking flight was jointly sponsored by FAS, Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi International Marine and Sports Club. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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National pride
posted on 03/12/2007

December 2, another year gone by, another beginning. Green red and white colours fluttering in the wind, the national anthem audible from a faraway window, festive feelings slowly permeating the air, this morning has a unique feel about it.

Filled with anticipation, the National Day of the UAE highlights past achievements with a view to the future. Walking down the street one glimpses faces filled with excitement taking in the accomplishments and mistakes of their past while looking to their future, head held high with pride. Citizens of this country have every reason to feel proud, united, strong. The UAE has come a long way. Notes spoke to students about their patriotism, perspectives on Dubai and a vision for its future.

National Day defined

National Day celebrates great success for all students in the UAE, which according to them has been continually growing. Every student holds December 2 as a day of achievement in every aspect.

"National day for me marks 36 years of accomplishment," said Abdullah Salim, higher diploma student at DMC. "It's 36 years of harmony, 36 years of prosperity and 36 years of ongoing happiness."

Cosmopolitan country

Every student seemed to hold a similar point of view, regarding their country as the hub of business and technological development in the region. Not only did these UAE nationals voice pride in their country's progress over the years, but also its triumph over war, terrorism and crime.

"It's a safe place to be," said Shoaib Mohammad, Higher Diploma student at DMC. "It has thrived through the good and the bad without getting involved in any political shambles. It has successfully maintained a state of neutrality."

Students highlighted safety and continuity of policy as a crucial factor for a successful nation, stressing that it is something to which they attach great value in the nation-building process.

"I feel we are a special community because we live in a safe nation that is always progressing," said Ahlam Al Bannai, applied communications student at Dubai Women's College (DWC). "People from abroad look towards the UAE's developments and are filled with amazement because of the country's achievements. It's something we are truly proud of."

Meanwhile, others brought another important aspect to light — the growing diversity of its population. Students said it is difficult to find another country of the same size that has over 200 nationalities.

"We welcome people from all backgrounds to our community," said Khalid Mohammad, Higher Diploma student from DMC. "And we do this disregarding race, religion or ethnicity. It's amazing how all these backgrounds combine in harmony. It's also remarkable how far we have developed as a nation under the rule of one great man."

The Late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan played a pivotal role in the UAE's progress. Without his faith in the country, students said, the area would have remained a desert.

"This is not just a day to celebrate the nation, it's a day to celebrate all that Shaikh Zayed has done for us and a day when all the hearts of nationals unite," said Mohammad Al Ali, aircraft engineering student at DMC. "We welcome everyone to be part of the great successes of this country, which paved the way for the UAE to become one of the most developed countries in the region and the world."

Rising from the sand

For most students, experiencing the country's progress was seeing it rise from the sand. What once was a plot of deserted land is now a high-rise commercial and recreational centre.

"When I was a child our home was surrounded by desert," said Al Ali. "Now it's literally in the middle of the city."

Other students added that within just a few days rejuvinating changes in the country give them renewed zeal and a sense of patriotism. This rapidly-changing scenario is what gives students the vigour and motivation needed to contribute to the UAE's success.

"Developments are ongoing and that's something wonderful. It's something other countries are impressed with," said Al Bannai. "Every day feels like a new day in a new country."

Learning takes on a new form

One of the most significant advancements seen in the UAE is the boost to education. Students noted the increase in exceptional schools and universities and alternative teaching methods being applied in these institutes. According to students, technology is being integrated into the curriculum more than ever before.

"Many schools and university students are required to have their own laptops," said Mohammad, "while teachers are involving students more in the classroom."

Students commended this new holistic approach to learning that gives them a better opportunity to express themselves as people, rather than as statistics.

"High schools are now taking all of a students accomplishments into consideration when calculating the final marks rather than considering the exam grades alone," said Eman Al Owais, applied communication student at DWC. "Schools and universities are using new equipment and technology to help facilitate learning and make it a more interesting experience for the student."

Most students agreed on what they want from their country – nothing.

"Our country has given us so much, good education, good jobs and moral support," Al Owais said. "The question really is what should I give back to my country."

Students' vision of the future

As in any society building a strong foundation. education plays a fundamental role in the progress of the UAE. Although pleased with the current level of progress in this area, students expressed a desire for further progress.

"Educational progress has been great in this country and we have a large number of good national universities. However, to really succeed we need to focus on education, knowledge and emiratisation in the years to come as there are a large number of UAE nationals who are not finishing their education," said Gazi Al Janahi, a student at the Dubai Men's College (DMC).

Nonetheless, students' opinions were not confined to education. Many saw the additions to the country's infrastructure as a means to strengthen the nation further. However, there were areas where they thought improvements could be made. "I am so happy with what they've done and what they are doing now but I would be happier if they did more.

Beautiful architecture is being created and it feels like a new building is constructed everyday. But they should direct their ideas elsewhere as well. One day we might not have all these tourists and then these buildings will do nothing to satisfy our needs. We should be focusing on ways to become self-reliant and independent. At the moment we import all our fruits and vegetables. What if we spent our money on a greenhouse instead?" said Tughrid Belqaizi, UAE national and student at the American University in Dubai.

"To grow our own food, to be self reliant, this is what we should be aspiring towards," he added.

Shoaib Mohammad from the DMC held a similar view. "Many things have changed in the UAE, such as business, education, technology and architecture, but I hope that one day this progress will extend to all areas, that one day we will want of nothing. All that we wish for will be available here."

The human race is always aspiring. It is not in our nature to stop. Forever evolving there is no ceiling to our progress and this generation's vision is a testament to this doctrine. Undoubtedly a large part of the student's vision involves education, but their vision extends past its confines to the horizon. The world is their oyster.

National Day is a day to reflect, appreciate, anticipate and plan, but most importantly it is a day to celebrate. Celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and successes of the past years, and the hope for many more, in the years to come. (Gulf News)

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Largest ever aerial banner flies over Abu Dhabi
posted on 03/12/2007

The world's largest flag was displayed above Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon as celebrations for the 36th UAE National Day got under way.
The 50,000 square foot flag of the UAE was towed by helicopter above the Corniche. Alongside the flag 52 boats participated in the national rowing race.
The Abu Dhabi Corniche turned into a parade ground on Saturday night as thousands of decorated vehicles drove up and down the stretch, with occupants honking, dancing and singing in celebration.
Thousands of bystanders watched from both sides of the Corniche. Flags were draped on cars and children painted their faces with the colours of the flag.
"As you can see we are celebrating the great success of this nation," 25-year-old Abdul Basel Abdullah said as he pointed to the towers along the Corniche decorated with festive lights.
Falcon Aviation Services LLC (FAS), a wholly owned company of Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nayhan, Member of the Executive Council, took to the skies over Abu Dhabi to set a new world record for the largest aerial banner ever flown.
Measuring over 50,000 square feet in size the banner was towed under a Bell 412 Aircraft supplied by Evergreen Helicopters who are partners with FAS in providing Search and Rescue services to the UAE Armed Forces. The previous record had been held by IKEA in Australia. The banner depicting the UAE flag was visible from up to 20 kilometres and the route was designed to take the flag right across the capital making it visible to virtually the entire population of the city of Abu Dhabi.
The idea for the sky high celebration on UAE National Day came initially from Sheikh Sultan and the Chairman of FAS, Captain Salem Al Kayoumi, after the FAS had initiated operations to conduct an aerial banner towing as part of its growing aviation business. "What better way to celebrate our nation's birthday than to proudly display the UAE Flag not only to Abu Dhabi and the UAE, but to the rest of the world as well," said Captain Al Kayoumi.
The banner was supplied by UK-based Heli Banners. The record-breaking flight was jointly sponsored by FAS, Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi International Marine and Sports Club. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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UAE will stay on democratic course: Khalifa
posted on 02/12/2007

President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan affirmed on Saturday the United Arab Emirates would stay on the course of democracy to ensure greater participation and empowerment in the Federal National Council (FNC).

'The last year witnessed an important development with regard to political empowerment and the practice of democracy, as the FNC's 14th legislative session has had half of its members elected, with women representing 22% of the total number of FNC members, 'the President said in a statement to the nation on the occasion of the 36th Anniversary of the UAE National Day.

'We remain committed to continuing our democratic change until we achieve all planned goals through paving the way for and offering the chance for more participation, and through enhancing the role of the FNC as a legislative and monitoring power, Sheikh Khalifa stressed.

To keep in line with this trend and to support it, Sheikh Khalifa maintained 'We call for the implementation of a national programme that aims at strengthening our identity and deepening the values of belonging and of citizenship, as well as providing the required conditions in society that reflect our country as an example of an open modern society whose values are consistent with our beliefs and our heritage.

Sheikh Khalifa also called for a clear programme that sets out a clear vision for the objectives of the UAE's experiment in elections and the associated mechanisms, and for an expansion of the authority of the FNC.

The President made it clear that shedding light on future strategies and visions does not mean that 'we should overlook the present with its challenges and problems.

Though notable achievements have been made in the health services, educational feedback, the labour market, the policies of Emiratisation, Sheikh Khalifa admitted that 'Our population policies, the effectiveness of our media and support for our young people, yet they are still below our expectations and our UAE standards.

That is to say: the achievements do not match the money that has been spent, or our aspirations.

'What we are facing is not a lack of resources because these are abundant, or a lack of vision because this exists, but, rather, some negative points of weakness, which have been recognised by the federal and local governments.

'Hence, integrated follow-up systems have been put in place to monitor performance and to spread a culture of quality and excellence in conformity with our efforts to boost the efficiency of our social welfare and health and to promote the empowerment of women and of employees in the cultural and social sectors, the civil organisations and media, he signalled.

Turning to national values and identity, Sheikh Khalifa said :'We are looking forward to a comprehensive civilised approach that takes on board modernity without eclipsing the original features, so that we may preserve the country's values and identity.

He emphasised there will be no compromise with whatever threatens values, traditions and language, which are the heart of the UAE's national identity and the soul of the nation and its heritage.

Sheikh Khalifa stressed the need for confronting the negative effects of globalisation and the defects in the make-up of UAE population, underlining that 'Any infringement of our identity is an infringement of the country itself. Simply, it is a violation of the country's sanctity.

'In this connection, we have instructed that new year that lies ahead for the federation shall be the year of National Identity, to strengthen the national elements and components of our society and to specify the threats to them.

Anyone lacking understanding of their identity is destined to remain in obscurity, whether now or in the future.

Speaking about achievements, the President noted :'Our people have been able, within a space of thirty six years, to achieve what is beyond imagination - a model of federal government, stimulating human development, a modern infrastructure, high-quality basic services, a good economy, an educated people, welfare and security.

'Our country is at the top, both at a regional level and at the level of the Arab world, with regards to welfare, social development, economic competitiveness, tourism promotion, attractiveness for investment, the use of IT technology and other fields.

The government, he explained, had also succeeded in adopting modern labour legislation, in implementing a free-market policy, in improving the investment environment and in maintaining an open mind towards experiments in a global economy, as well as managing to support partnership between the public and private sectors and in introducing regulation of public joint companies.

In regard to economy, the President said 'All of these factors have worked together towards reviving our economy, and our Gross Domestic Product GDP, according to economic indicators, will increase by the end of this year to reach a record level.

'This is testimony to the prudent economic policy adopted by the government, especially in expanding and diversifying our production base. Now, although the oil sector makes a major contribution to our GDP, its contribution does not exceed 34%of the total.

Maintaining our economic growth in the light of the population reality that we all know requires prudent investment policies, serious follow-up by the government, and the enacting of laws and their mechanisms for implementation in a way that preserves the sovereignty of the country and the identity of its citizens and their security.

To achieve these objectives, he added, the government has established a permanent national population committee and has planned for the providing of more jobs for nationals, particularly women.

Sheikh Khalifa noted that the nation was on the threshold of a new era, an era in which the UAE's human capital would take the centre stage. Other hallmarks of this new era also include, amongst others, enhancing cooperation between local and federal institutions; improving the decision- making process; upgrading the performance of government institutions; harnessing human resources; and improving the quality of services. All these elements constitute an integrated future strategy for our nation.

The key to the success of this strategy, he underscored, lies not in the ideas or financial resources that will be used but rather in the degree of commitment and dedication of those who will implement it. Ideas in themselves can never be realised if we lack competent and committed human resources.

'The objectives of the strategy will not be achieved without the introduction of true programmes for the development of young national leaders who are capable of shouldering the responsibilities and its ends will also not be reached unless the private sector works pro-actively as a true, full partner in national development.

'We in the institutions of the State aspire for a clearer and more effective role to be played by the private sector. A role whose framework is responsibility towards the community, and whose final goal is the creation of more attractive and encouraging job opportunities for our young people, the introduction of modern technology, the creation of a safe, healthy working environment, the guarantee of workers' rights and the improvement of the quality of products and services.

'We - whether in the public sector, private sector or public interest organisations - are partners in preserving this homeland, pushing forward its march of progress, maintaining its identity and protecting its gains.

As for the UAE islands occupied by Iran, the President said :'The islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa and their continental shelves and regional waters are a dear part and parcel of our country. We will spare no effort to have them restored to us and demand their return to our national sovereignty.

'We have conveyed to the international community and to the leadership of Iran our grave concern over its continued occupation of these islands and we renew our invitation to Iran to enter into direct, bilateral negotiations or to refer the case to the International Court of Justice. We also commit ourselves to accept the results of such arbitration, whatever they may be, he added.

On Iran's nuclear programme, the President said:'We support the right of any country to seek access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We call on our neighbour, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to operate its nuclear programme in accordance with the needs of international peace and security.

He also called on the international community to be fair on this issue by bringing the Israeli nuclear installations under international supervision and control.

In his address, Sheikha Khalifa also handled a wide-range of issues concerning Arab and Islamic World including Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Sudan.

In special reference to Iraq, Sheikh Khalifa described what is taking place in Iraq is a real tragedy and appealed to all parties - whether inside or outside the country, to seek for a way out of this dark and bloody tunnel.

'We appeal to all Iraqis to assume a more responsible role in tackling this calamity so as to spare the country a conflagration whose devastating consequences could pose threats to the region at large. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Khalifa's address to the nation on National Day
posted on 02/12/2007

Following is the full text of the statement to the Nation made by President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan On the occasion of the 36th Anniversary of the UAE National Day on Saturday, December 1st, 2007.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, Dear Citizens, Al Salaam Aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakat On this blessed day, and as we celebrate the 36th anniversary of the founding of our nation, I take this opportunity to extend my sincere greetings to my brothers, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates. I salute them for their good custodianship of our Federation and also for their sincere and tireless efforts to administer justice, maintain security, and mobilise resources to spur the growth of our country.

I also take this opportunity to extend my warm greetings to my sons and daughters - the UAE citizens - as well as to resident expatriates from sisterly and friendly countries.

I salute the officers, non-commissioned officers and servicemen of our Armed Forces, and indeed the rest of our security agencies, for the sacred mission which they are carrying out, a mission of protecting our country and its gains.

On this blessed day, we pray that God may bestow His mercy upon the founding father of our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and also upon the other co-founders of the UAE Federation.

It is from the perseverance and dedication of our founding fathers that the nation derives its strength and pride. I pay tribute to those who have continued to keep the beacon of this nation ever shining through their handiwork and thinking. May the Almighty Allah bless us with strength, clear vision, and dedication so that we may continue to follow in the footprints of our founding fathers.

Fellow citizens, As we celebrate this noble occasion, we are full of confidence that we will achieve the objectives which we set for ourselves a couple of years ago. These objectives were outlined in my address to the nation this day two years ago. In that speech, which has been translated into a strategy for Government, I noted that the nation was on the threshold of a new era, an era in which the UAE's human capital would take the centre stage.

Other hallmarks of this new era also include, amongst others, enhancing cooperation between local and federal institutions; improving the decision- making process; upgrading the performance of government institutions; harnessing human resources; and improving the quality of services. All these elements constitute an integrated future strategy for our nation.

The key to the success of this strategy lies not in the ideas or financial resources that will be used but rather in the degree of commitment and dedication of those who will implement it. Ideas in themselves can never be realised if we lack competent and committed human resources.

The objectives of the strategy will not be achieved without the introduction of true programmes for the development of young national leaders who are capable of shouldering the responsibilities and its ends will also not be reached unless the private sector works pro-actively as a true, full partner in national development.

We in the institutions of the State aspire for a clearer and more effective role to be played by the private sector. A role whose framework is responsibility towards the community, and whose final goal is the creation of more attractive and encouraging job opportunities for our young people, the introduction of modern technology, the creation of a safe, healthy working environment, the guarantee of workers' rights and the improvement of the quality of products and services.

We - whether in the public sector, private sector or public interest organisations - are partners in preserving this homeland, pushing forward its march of progress, maintaining its identity and protecting its gains.

Dear citizens, The last year witnessed an important development with regard to political empowerment and the practice of democracy, as the Federal National Council, FNC, 14th legislative session has half of its members elected, with women representing 22% of the total number of FNC members.

We remain committed to continuing our democratic change until we achieve all planned goals through paving the way for and offering the chance for more participation, and through enhancing the role of the FNC as a legislative and monitoring power.

To keep in line with this trend and to support it, we call for the implementation of a national programme that aims at strengthening our identity and deepening the values of belonging and of citizenship, as well as providing the required conditions in society that reflect our country as an example of an open modern society whose values are consistent with our beliefs and our heritage.

We call for a clear programme that sets out a clear vision for the objectives of our experiment in elections and the associated mechanisms, We also call for an expansion of the authority of the FNC.

Dear citizens, What we have managed to achieve in the last years makes us more confident that our people can go ahead with our plans and strategies and achieve the required objectives. Our country is at the top, both at a regional level and at the level of the Arab world, with regards to welfare, social development, economic competitiveness, tourism promotion, attractiveness for investment, the use of IT technology and other fields.

Our people have been able, within a space of thirty six years, to achieve what is beyond imagination - a model of federal government, stimulating human development, a modern infrastructure, high-quality basic services, a good economy, an educated people, welfare and security.

Our government has also succeeded in adopting modern labour legislation, in implementing a free-market policy, in improving the investment environment and in maintaining an open mind towards experiments in a global economy, as well as managing to support partnership between the public and private sectors and in introducing regulation of public joint companies.

All of these factors have worked together towards reviving our economy, and our Gross Domestic Product GDP, according to economic indicators, will increase by the end of this year to reach a record level. This is testimony to the prudent economic policy adopted by the government, especially in expanding and diversifying our production base. Now, although the oil sector makes a major contribution to our GDP, its contribution does not exceed 34%of the total.

Maintaining our economic growth in the light of the population reality that we all know requires prudent investment policies, serious follow-up by the government, and the enacting of laws and their mechanisms for implementation in a way that preserves the sovereignty of the country and the identity of its citizens and their security.

To achieve these objectives, the government has established a permanent national population committee and has planned for the providing of more jobs for nationals, particularly women.

Dear citizens, We are following with great interest the extensive efforts exerted by the local and federal authorities to upgrade the educational process, and we commend all educational initiatives that aim to promote vocational and technical education, so that we may achieve the goal of providing the community with qualified national personnel who can compete and satisfy the needs of our major strategic industries. This will enhance our capability, as a nation, to be economically competitive.

We confirm that the country is still committed to guarantee comfortable lives for our citizens and to provide them with the necessary education and training, with job opportunities in both the private and public sectors, with health services, with social care and with expanded housing programmes.

To achieve all these goals, we have issued a federal law for establishing the UAE Investment Authority, which is responsible for the administration of federal assets and investments inside and outside the country, a step that will provide more resources for the federal budget.

Dear citizens, Shedding light on the strategies and our future vision does not mean that we should overlook the present with its challenges and problems.

Though notable achievements have been made in the health services, educational feedback, the labour market, the policies of Emiratisation, our population policies, the effectiveness of our media and support for our young people, yet they are still below our expectations and our UAE standards. That is to say: the achievements do not match the money that has been spent, or our aspirations.

What we are facing is not a lack of resources because these are abundant, or a lack of vision because this exists, but, rather, some negative points of weakness, which have been recognised by the federal and local governments.

Hence, integrated follow-up systems have been put in place to monitor performance and to spread a culture of quality and excellence in conformity with our efforts to boost the efficiency of our social welfare and health and to promote the empowerment of women and of employees in the cultural and social sectors, the civil organisations and media.

We are looking forward to a comprehensive civilised approach that takes on board modernity without eclipsing the original features, so that we may preserve the country's values and identity.

There will be no compromise with whatever threatens our values, our traditions and language, which are the heart of our national identity and the soul of the nation and our heritage.

Thus, we must confront the negative effects of globalisation and the defects in the make-up of our population. Any infringement of our identity is an infringement of the country itself. Simply, it is a violation of the country's sanctity.

In this connection, we have instructed that new year that lies ahead for the federation shall be the year of National Identity, to strengthen the national elements and components of our society and to specify the threats to them.

Anyone lacking understanding of their identity is destined to remain in obscurity, whether now or in the future.

Dear citizens, The federal state is designed to preserve our identity, to enhance our capacities and to exercise our sovereignty. It ensures our security and stability in the Arabian Gulf, and, indeed, is a guarantee of support for our brothers in the Arab and Islamic worlds. It offers a progressive model in the management of international relations on a humanitarian and moral basis.

Respect for international legitimacy and solidarity, which has characterised our foreign policy for 36 years, has yielded its fruits.

We are committed to supporting right and justice so as to spread peace, justice and security and to encourage values among cultures and nations. These principles govern our diplomacy and reflect the course and conduct of our national identity, which is marked by wisdom, truth, transparency, gentleness, tolerance, moderation and realism.

In implementing all of these principles, the whole of the last year has seen extensive activity in the building of our balanced international relations, and in the development of bilateral and group partnerships to establish a more secure, stable regional system and a fair international community.

In all those efforts, the UAE interests were addressed, as well as the concerns of the Arab and Muslim nations.

We emphasised at every forum that the Arabian Gulf, of which we are a part, is both wealthy and a focus of the interests of others. Only by keeping tension away from the area can the security and stability of the region be attained. We reject any options that may upset the prevailing balance and that may plunge the region into phases with long-lasting repercussions.

We support the right of any country to seek access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We call on our neighbour, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to operate its nuclear programme in accordance with the needs of international peace and security.

We further call on the international community to be fair on this issue by bringing the Israeli nuclear installations under international supervision and control.

The islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa and their continental shelves and regional waters are a dear part and parcel of our country. We will spare no effort to have them restored to us and demand their return to our national sovereignty.

We have conveyed to the international community and to the leadership of Iran our grave concern over its continued occupation of these islands and we renew our invitation to Iran to enter into direct, bilateral negotiations or to refer the case to the International Court of Justice.

We also commit ourselves to accept the results of such arbitration, whatever they may be.

We further strongly reiterate that our approach to Arab and Islamic causes derives from true bonds of fraternity and belonging.

When a Muslim or an Arab feels hurt, wherever he may be, that hurt also affects the people of the United Arab Emirates. No Arab can feel secure and tranquil while he sees that the life and security of his brother is under threat.

We follow closely the serious violations in the Israeli conduct towards the Palestinian people and its continued occupation of beloved Arab territories. At the same time, we declare our support for any efforts designed to revive the Middle East peace process, to end the occupation and to establish the independent Palestinian state with the holy city of Jerusalem (Al Quds) as its capital.

We also look for more attention to be paid, both within the Arab world and internationally, to a healing of inter-Palestinian divisions, to helping Lebanon to overcome its current crisis, so that its security and stability may be preserved, and to achieving reconciliation and unity between rival groups in Somalia.

Further, we welcome the Arab, African and international efforts to find a solution to the long-raging Darfur crisis.

What is taking place in Iraq is a real tragedy. All parties, whether inside or outside the country, must seek for a way out of this dark and bloody tunnel. We appeal to all Iraqis to assume a more responsible role in tackling this calamity so as to spare the country a conflagration whose devastating consequences could pose threats to the region at large.

As we are committed to follow in the path drawn up by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in regards to the provision of all kinds of development, humanitarian and relief assistance to brotherly and friendly countries, we reiterate that the alleviation of poverty, the treatment of disease and the tackling of unemployment and terrorism and other ills from which the world suffers requires a sincere commitment from one particular part of the international community, namely the major industrialised countries.

We call for these nations to adopt affective mechanisms to ensure an equitable delivery of development and humanitarian assistance and the transfer of technology to developing nations in order to make the world safer and more stable.

In this contest, we commend the two initiatives launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide necessary funds for education of one million poor and deprived children all over the world and to allocate an endowment fund to the amount of US$ 10 billion to support knowledge and higher education in the Arab World.

Dear citizens, The spectacular achievements we have made and the high profile that our country has gained internationally require us to work, hard and with sincerity, to preserve these gains, to entrench the spirit of federation and to develop its institutions so as to open up a promising future.

We pray to the Almighty that He may bless our steps and grant us success in pursuing the march of progress and the prosperity of our country.

May there be glory and dignity for our Arab and Islamic nation and good and peace for all humanity.

Al Salaam Aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakat Khalifa bin Zayed Abu Dhabi 1st December. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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UAE VP asks the citizens to make history
posted on 02/12/2007

Addressing the citizens on the 36th national day of UAE, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai made a passionate call for hard work to make the future history of the federation.

He said thirty six years of union has become equivalent to hundreds of years which several nations have taken to achieve progress and development.

However, he asked the citizens not to sleep on the soft silk of success, but to work hard to make the future history of the country.

"Whatever we achieved in the past has been achieved. The history we will write is what we will achieve in the future, not what we have achieved in the past", said Sheikh Mohammed.

The following is the full text of his National Day message: Dear sons and daughters of my motherland, Praise be to Allah who gave us the guidance, wisdom and prudence, and blessed us to work to His pleasure, in the best interests of our people and the glory of our nation.

Praise be to Allah who gave us the unity and enabled us to build our young country, ensuring prosperity for the sons and daughters of our motherland.

As we celebrate today the 36th National Day anniversary, in the presence of the founding fathers, we see their faces shine with satisfaction and optimism, their eyes gleaming with happiness. The edifice which they have founded grows bigger in strength and glory. The human being whom they have brought up grow stronger in knowledge and self confidence. The federation which they have set up becomes more deeply-rooted, matured and generous.

Thirty-six years; how short a period it is! In the progression of history, it was a short span of time. It elapsed without making any footprints in the lives of many human societies and nations, or without leaving behind many memories to cherish.

But these years, in the history of United Arab Emirates, were distinguished with the colossal achievements they realised, with intimate memories and with hairworm and success.

Those were the years of making, giving, achieving and constant looking into the future. They were also the years of tireless endeavour to reach the ultimate in every avenue.

Those were the years Zayed and Rashid had set the clock to make a new history characterised by their dreams, visions, efforts and wisdom. They founded the pillars on deeply-rooted foundations and continued to build on those pillars day and night. They paved the way for the nation to move ahead from the most humble phases of growth into one of the most magnificent models in the modern times. The thirty six years of federation thus became equivalent to hundreds of years which several nations have taken to achieve progress and development.

Dear sons and daughters of my motherland, The Almighty who blessed this nation with a unique leadership, has also blessed it with a people who love their leaders, keep close to them and arm themselves with their vision. They are never aloof to trekking difficult plains, experimenting new ventures, storming the unknown or calling on new horizons. The uniquely epic relationship between the leaders of UAE and its people has always been the secret of every success we achieved on the soil of our country. It enabled us to carve a niche so high among nations. It also created a model for success and wisdom in the running of domestic affairs and foreign relations as well as for achieving sustainable development keeping abreast with the knowledge era.

Dear sons and daughters of my motherland, We cherish our past and are proud of our present. We are moving ahead into the future with confidence, consciousness and determination which knows no reluctance.

We achieved success because we always believed that tomorrow is a new day. Whatever we achieved in the past has been achieved. The history we will write is what we will achieve in the future, not what we have achieved in the past.

We will not be the ones who sleep on the soft silk of success or those who become content with the lustre of achievements. We will not be among those who falsely believe that the march into the future will happen by itself by self-propelling.

Life knows no halting and those who stop will never win.

Every new day brings us new duties to fulfil, new challenges to face and new problems to solve.

Every new day comes with new knowledge, new inventions and new media.

Those who ignore what is new, even for a second, will be stranded.

The one who doesn't strive to reach the first rank will be pushed back.

The one who is waiting for the luck to bring him bounties will regret.

Those who give themselves to the fate to manage their own affairs will discover later that the time wasn't an ally. Time is friendly with those who strive and endeavour, and hostile to those who sleep and become lazy.

We will move ahead entrusting ourselves on Almighty and putting into practice the national work programme given by the leader of our march and the symbol of our nation, our elder brother President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. May Allah bless him for success.

Sons and daughters of my motherland, The last year witnessed your government entering into an era of strategic planning.

The best global practices became an integral part of work, programmes and projects of the ministries.

The plans for reformation and development will go on with determination in every sector, especially in education, health and governance.

The government will move with consciousness and responsibility to solve the population and labour problems. At the same time it will also work to enhance the integration between local and federal affairs, and strengthen economic cooperation and coordination among various emirates.

Our faith in the future is great.

Our optimism is unfailing.

We live in realities and embrace big dreams. We always strive to reach greater heights, entrusting ourselves with the Almighty and relying upon the citizens. We are determined to empower every national, man and woman, with knowledge, training, professional skills, leadership qualities and the requirements of prosperous life.

A federal new year means to us More work...

More achievements...

More empowerment of citizens...

More quality production and services...

More hope and optimism... (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Federation a turning point in the region's history: Mohammed bin Zayed
posted on 02/12/2007

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has paid tribute to President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, praising his vision for progress in every walk of life in the UAE.

In a statement made on the occasion of the 36th national day anniversary and published by the "Dir Al Watan" magazine, Sheikh Mohammed praised Sheikh Khalifa's comprehensive vision. He said the UAE has moved to the enabling phase by adopting a progressive approach that guarantees a strong and stable nation.

"Glorious days never fade from nations and people's memories. Those days tell of the efforts made by sincere and resolute leaders who believed in their destiny and shouldered responsibility to serve their homeland, to achieve their people's aspirations and to give the world an example of a vibrant and modern nation rising from sands of the arid desert," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"The federation of trucial states and the subsequent creation of the UAE represented a major turning point in the history of the Arabian Gulf in particular and the Middle East in general, following a fierce struggle fuelled by the unwavering determination of Their Highnesses Rulers if the Emirates and their insistence to build a nation that emulates advanced countries." Sheikh Mohammed noted that time was not the only hurdle that faced the giant step of nation building.

"Making available educated and experienced citizens in the different fields was yet another challenge. It was necessary to develop a two-way strategy, one focusing on comprehensive development and the other on investing in human resources." "He who ponders the achievements and appreciates the importance of history, will realize that it was a story of the Emarati citizen, who made one of the most impressive milestones of the modern time," he added.

Sheikh Mohammed also praised the forward thinking makers of the union who, right from the beginning, believed that true wealth lies in the Emarati citizen and that it was better to invest human resources to create enlightened generations, capable of dealing with requirements of modern age and confronting all challenges.

"Looking on what has been achieved during the building stage, we feel satisfied and proud of all achievements made internally and externally. Such achievements could not be measured by time. At the same time, the country maintained its independence, possessed the will to achieve and clung to its neutrality and wisely resolving problems and surmounting obstacles." Sheikh Mohammed noted that while adhering to its Arab and Islamic culture and traditions, the UAE entered the 21st century as a powerful nation that enjoys a special status in regional and international arenas.

"We have decided to be an active member of the international community, to develop our capabilities and to make our own future. It was necessary to continue the march by developing our political system. The move of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to enhance the role of Federal National Council was a step in the direction of promoting democracy, boosting women's role and preparing citizens to participate in decision making process," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed said that being part of the international community fabric, the UAE continued to play an active role in the international peacekeeping mission and sought to offer solutions for the problems of pollution, climate change and distinction of some certain species. The country also continued to offer assistance to the people all over the world, irrespective of their race, creed or colour of skin.

"For us, the sky is the limit. We are keen on continuous development, enhancing the concept of sustainable development and expanding private sector's role in the economy to actively contribute in production, creation of job opportunities and development of human resources, enabling transfer from consumerism to efficiency." Sheikh Mohammed said has always been a symbol of communal harmony, tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

He also stressed the importance of education, sating it has become an essential element in the country's future strategies.

Emphasizing the need to protect the country's achievements and to maintain its interests, Sheikh Mohammed said: "It is necessary for us to believe in our capabilities, to be loyal to our leadership, to preserve our national security and to follow the path of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, drawing from his legacy of wisdom and determination." "The UAE leaders made history and fulfilled their people's aspirations. They proved that will power and patriotism can make miracles and lead nations to progress. The UAE citizen played the lead role in turning the dream into reality. We pray to Allah the Almighty to grant our country peace, felicity and success." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Rulers of emirates send National Day messages
posted on 02/12/2007

Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of Emirates greeted the UAE leader, citizens and residents on the occasion of the 36th National Day of UAE.

In their respective messages given through the Defence magazine 'Dir Al Watan', the Rulers of emirates hailed the progress achieved by the country during the past years and asked the citizens to be more determined to continue to work for more prosperity.

In his message, H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, reiterated that the UAE federation is gaining more strength and power as the years pass by. The continuing growth and development of the country has also brought pride and prosperity for its people.

He said that the unity of the country gave it a glorious history promising more prosperity in the future under the prudent leadership of H.H President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Sultan called upon the citizens to continue strive for knowledge and sincere work which constitute the basis of the development of any society.

He expressed his hope that the citizens will rise up to the expectations of the founders of the federation. He also asked them to strive for realizing the ambitions of their nation through hard work, unity and adherence to the Islamic values and their Arab identity.

The Ruler said that the real wealth lies inherent in the citizen who is conscious about his duties and work with dedication making the best use of his potentials.

H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah said in his message: 'We are celebrating the 36th anniversary of the National Day of our young country. Thirty-six years ago our seven emirates became one single entity unifying our potentials under the prudent leadership of my lost brother Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

'During these years we have made great achievements in domestic and international levels bringing us to the levels of advanced countries in the world. The federal institutions have played significant role in strengthening the march of the federation into progress.

'When we stand at the threshold of a new year in our history, we have great ambitions which we will achieve with the help from Allah the Almighty.

'On this occasion I express my sincere greetings to brother H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Their highnesses the Supreme council members and Rulers of emirates and the entire people of the UAE.

'I also pray to the Almighty to shower His blessings upon us all to achieve more prosperity in the future'.

H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah said in his message: 'On December 2nd the people of United Arab Emirates made a tryst with destiny to write the history with the light of great achievements. The founding father of the nation the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan spared no efforts to unify the people of various emirates into a federation, and it gave our country prosperity and progress.

'Sheikh Zayed always reminded us the rulers about our duty to work hand in hand to realize prosperity for our people.

'His footprints are sincerely followed by H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who enhanced the process of democracy and consultation based on the true teaching of Islam and its eternal values.

Al Sharqi expressed his sincere greetings to Sheikh Khalifa and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council members and Rulers of emirates.

He said that the country's achievements in educational, economic, social, healthcare and agriculture have converted the land which was a barren desert into a green oasis.

More over the UAE also played a very important role on international level supporting justice, peace and security around the world.

Sharqi also said that the neutral foreign policy of UAE has always been lauded as it always supported international legitimacy and sovereignty of countries.

He reminded the armed forces of their duty to safeguard the integrity of their motherland and protect its achievements.

Sharqi also prayed to God Almighty to bestow His divine mercy upon the lost founder of the federation Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and admit him into the eternal paradise.

In his message H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm al-Qaiwain said: 'When we celebrate the 36th anniversary of our National Day we are cherishing the memories of the day when we achieved a single joint identity unifying us into a single nation.

'During our journey we could make a lot of achievements in various fields ensuring prosperity to our people and for the future generations.

'Our federation has become a faith and a distinguished model for unity among nations.

'Our policies always gave enough attention to the human factor and the empowerment of them through education and ensuring them good living standards.

'During last year H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa enhanced the role of Federal National Council by way of electing half of the members through voting, as well as giving women an equal footing in the political process.

Sheikh Rashid fondly remembered the great vision of the founding father of UAE Late Sheikh Zayed.

H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman said in his message: 'On the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the National Day of our country, I express my sincere greetings to H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of emirates and the citizens.

'We also remember on this occasion the great leader and the founding father of the federation Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who could give a birth certificate to our Ummah.

'This march into progress and prosperity will continue with the will of God under the prudent leadership of H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
'On this blessed day we reiterate our promise to stand together hand in hand with sincere intentions for the success of our nation.

'The experience of our federation is unparalleled anywhere in the Arab lands, and our unity has opened the doors to success and prosperity in all fields. Within a period of three and a half decades our country could become one among the advanced countries achieving progress in educational, economic, social, medical and agricultural fields. Our country also strengthened its power through economic diversification, encouragement of private sector.
'What we are experiencing today is a unique story of success, a story of turning a barren desert into a land of fruits and vegetation.
'Our achievements are so large that we are unable to mention them all at one time. The fruits of our federation could also support wellbeing, peace and prosperity beyond our own boarders.
'The religious tolerance of our country is remarkable and we all live here in peace without any ethnical strife or communal rift. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Senior officials praise UAE federation on National Day
posted on 02/12/2007

Abdullah bin Zayed
Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid homage to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan whose effort in drawing up UAE foreign policy won him the devotion of his people and the admiration of the world.

In a statement published by the "Dir Al Watan" to mark 36th national day anniversary, Sheikh Abdullah also saluted President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, whose wise directives guaranteed continuous success to the country's foreign relations, based on the principles set by the founding fathers.

Sheikh Abdullah said that national day celebration provides an opportunity to study the unique experiment that managed to overcome difficulties and to prove sceptics wrong.

"Looking at the federation experiment, there are two things that catch one's eyes; the ability to blend form and function, and the will to make that unity a reality, not a mere dream." Sheikh Abdullah said that the founding fathers, including the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum were wise enough to realize that a gradual and consistent policy was needed to build a solid-base for a federation, capable of confronting all challenges.

"The founding fathers early realized that citizens represent the federation's backbone and that social and family bonds between the different emirates would facilitate building of a strong and cohesive nation." "Some saw the high level of autonomy granted to each emirate as a sign of weakness that could lead federation to cave in and a window for competition among citizens of one country. On the contrary, that autonomy added flexibility to the system and helped in distributing services equally between urban and rural areas." "The competition, perceived by some as a gap, turned out to be a source of power, as it helped in improving performance and in attracting local and foreign investments that transformed different areas of the country into world-class business hubs."

Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
In his statement to "Dir Al Watan" on the occasion, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs said: "Today, I'm honoured like any UAE national to greet President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who followed with confidence the course of late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on the 36th national day anniversary.

"I also seized this historic opportunity to congratulate H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, their Highnesses Members of Supreme Council and Rulers, who are steadily leading the nation to prosperity.

"I congratulate General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who is exerting continuous efforts to boost capabilities and efficiency of our national army, wishing more prosperity to our country.

"We enter into the 37th year of our federation more confident and full fledged allegiance to the country under wise and visionary leadership. We stand at the threshold of significant stage of the federal government, whose features has been defined by the general strategy of the United Arab Emirates.

"The ministries and public agencies have pledged to implement work plans and scheduled programmes of this strategy, which is based on boosting the existing cooperation between the federal and local authorities, revision of legislatives, laws, betterment of services, boosting the efficiency of public departments, and human resources training based on qualification and active Emiratisation.

"These aspirations aim at promoting the very spirit of federation, making our institutions more efficient to have greater capacity in decision making and taking, dealing with necessary national issues and serious tackling of transformations being experienced by the UAE in all fields.

"We are so confident that the prosperity and national allegiance will continue steadily under wise leadership of Sheikh Khalifa and Rulers to preserve the nation, ensure security, stability and boosting economy and spread justice.

"The security of the UAE, strength, coalesce between leadership and people, identity and respect of law are the nation's shield for confronting challenges and springboard for progress." He congratulated the UAE and its people on the happy occasion.

Lubna Al Qasimi
In her comment on the occasion, Minister of Economy, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, greeted President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, their Highnesses Members of Supreme Council, on the 36th national day anniversary.

She said "the 36th national day anniversary renews our pride of the day in which the UAE nationals united their word. It is the day on which official and public came together to build a prosperous country and achieve ambitions and preserve heritage, tradition and distinguished Arab spirit." Lubna added that many achievements have been scored on social, economic and political fields since the inception of federation 36 years ago.

"In this glorious occasion, we remember the founders of UAE late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Their wisdom and keen vision contributed considerably in founding the UAE federation, which we are yielding its fruits now", she said.

Lubna said the economic and financial performance of the UAE has registered unprecedented achievements as the country is witnessing qualitative projects in property development whether in industrial or tourism filed. It has also wooed huge foreign investment and struck strong partnerships with many countries, regional and international organisations.

She added that "these successes have put the UAE in the heart of world economy map".

Lt. General Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Also commenting on the occasion, Interior Minister, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said there is no doubt that the founding of the UAE federation on December 2, 1971 represents a focal point in the history of the UAE and its people and a source of pride for the whole Arab nation. "It was on this day that the march began for what is now arguably the most successful union of modern time, under a wise and visionary leadership and supportive people who continue to rally round its leadership, armed with deep belief in unity and with a strong aspirations for progress and prosperity," he said in a statement to the Dir al Watan.

"As we celebrate the 36th anniversary of the union, which coincides with the golden Jubilee of the Abu Dhabi Police, we wish to express our deep pride in the UAE's great achievements in all areas. These achievements have undoubtedly placed the country among the world's elite countries," he added.

He pointed out that the country continues to achieve more glories and development under the able leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, having continued with the good works of the late UAE founder and leader, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may his soul rest in perfect peace).

He said the UAE, since its establishment, has been playing an effective role on the international scene. "This has won the country great respect from the international community, thanks to the country's moderate policy and its persistent efforts to achieve global security and stability, its great respect for international laws and charters, and non its interference in the internal affairs of other countries," he added.

"The UAE's wise leadership has given great priority to the armed forces, which is the shield of the nation and protector of its great achievements. This is manifested in the government's regularly providing good training for the sons and daughters of this nation who joined the armed forces and equipping the armed forces with the latest and state-of-the-art defence weapons. The world today bears witness to the professionalism and competence of our armed forces, whose performance in peacekeeping in various parts of the world has won good accolades and applause," he explained.

"As a matter of fact, the security and stability our nation and people enjoy today would not have been possible without the continuous support the various organs of the interior ministry receive from the UAE's wise leadership, headed by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the support of all the security personnel who continue to give their best to maintain the rule of law and order, without compromising the principle of human rights and our national tradition and culture. " "We would like to seize this opportunity to extend our warmest greetings and well-wishes to the President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council Rulers of the Emirates, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan." "We pray to Allah the Almighty for more of this happy occasion," he concluded.

Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan
Commenting on the occasion, Abu Dhabi Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan said status of any country is assessed according to its strategic achievements on its soil and for its people. "We in the UAE always take reality into consideration. Since the founding of the UAE federation on December 2, 1971 to date, the UAE continues to make significant achievements day after day to prove to all that the union has come to stay. This is because the UAE federation has been built on a very sound foundation of sincerity and truth by our founding fathers who worked tirelessly to lay a solid foundation for this nation," he said in a statement to "Dir Al Watan".

He added: "On every anniversary that comes it brings good memories, joy and happiness to the leadership and people of this nation. As we celebrate the national day we express the great achievements realised by our nation, which, until some few decades ago, has very little to show in terms of modern development. We were then hoping to see a day when we will also achieve just a fraction of the development of some countries which were then far ahead of us. But with strong determination, hard work, good and visionary leadership we have reached there and we have proven to the world that we are determined to lead our country to the same level of the leading countries of the world." He said after 36 years of union, the whole world see today how the UAE has become great and prosperous, enjoying great development and stability. He attributed the achievements to the good leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and his brethren their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council, Rulers of the Emirates. He congratulated the UAE and its people on the happy occasion.

Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan
"Also commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Hamdan hailed the UAE founding leaders who set the foundation of this strong united country, and to those who succeeded them and managed to follow the same steps in marinating and strengthening the unity of the country, and accomplish the great achievements that made the UAE among the leading countries in various fields.

"We are now celebrating the 36th anniversary of the National Day which is an important event for us because it inspires us with values, norms and ideals set by the founding leaders. On top of these leaders are Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and their brothers the Rulers of the emirates who took the historic decision of uniting this country "said Sheikh Hamdan "Our prudent leadership has adopted the method of economic openness, and enhanced development programs. And despite the small population of the UAE which represents only 1.4 of the total population of the Arab World, our gross domestic product GDP is ranked the second in the Arab World, and UAE contribution to Arab World GDP is expected to reach 17% in 2015. This means that our economy will be one the best economies and the quickest in growth in the Region." He added that the expected GDP for the country in the year 2007 is 700 billion dirhams , emphasizing that the government has adopted an ambitious strategy aiming at upgrading scientific and knowledge capabilities of the national cadres , besides developing laws and legislations in order to cope with current variables. He said " through the adopted strategy, the UAE has been ranked 37th in the field of international economic competitiveness, as indicated by reports of the World Economic Forum.

"Then came the historic initiative of increasing the salaries of federal employees and pensions of the retired by 70%, and the generous gesture of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to increase the salaries of civilians and military personnel of the armed forces and Abu Dhabi police by 70% of the comprehensive salary. All these reflect the high concern of our leadership towards the people of this country to provide them with the necessary means that make them lead comfortable lives".

" I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to HH the President, HH the Vice President, their Highness the Members of the Federal Supreme Council and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces for generous gestures " Sheikh Hamdan highlighted the efforts of the government in providing with the best educational environment as this can be seen clearly in the budget allocated to education- 2% of the of the GDP.

"As for health service field, 3.7% of GDP has been allocated for this vital sector a matter that enabled its authorities to eradicate all epidemic diseases. The government has upgraded all medical equipment and qualified medical staffs and implemented medical insurance law to guarantee the quality of medical care provided to the people" He highlighted the high concern of the government to open the way for women to participate in political and social and economic activities. Sheikh Hamdan stressed that women have gained all their rights pointing out to the fact that the number of school female students increased from about 90 thousand students in 1972 to 307 thousand students in 2005, and number of female students in Emirates University was 77% of the total number of students.

Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE is committed to helping sisterly and friendly countries through humanitarian aid, loans and grants. Pointing out that 119 countries have benefited from the 108 billion dirhams provided by various national institutions such as Zayed Foundation, Red Crescent Authority and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

He concluded his speech by emphasizing that under the prudent leadership of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers the Rulers of emirates there is no doubt that the country will continue to take forwards steps towards more great achievements.

Ali Abdullah Al Ka'abi
UAE Minister of Labour, Ali Abdullah Al Ka'abi, hailed the great achievements of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan saying that "he is the great man who managed to unite this country." Al Ka'abi made his remarks to in his speech which was published by Dira Alwatan magazine on the occasion of the 36th. UAE National Day.

He also commended the prudent policy of the UAE under the leadership of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid , Vice President and Ruler of Dubai , and Their Highness, the Rulers of the emirates. He stressed that under this great leadership, the country has succeeded to make the great achievements the UAE people are enjoying now.

UAE laws and legislations, Al Ka'abi said, respect human rights and the regulations for labour market protect labourers' rights.

Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Senior UAE officials have expressed profound happiness on the country's enviable achievements and successes since the establishment of the UAE federation on December 2, 1971.

In his statement to the "Dira Al Watan" magazine of the UAE Armed Forces, on the 36th National Day anniversary, Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: "We celebrate the 36th National Day anniversary and we can see the great achievements that the UAE has accomplished in different fields. And as the result of the prudent policy adopted by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan , President of the UAE who follows the policy set by the founding father , Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan , the UAE can achieve more in all fields ." He added that the strategy of HH Sheikh Khalifa with regard to "sustainable development policy " has always been fruitful , stressing that although oil is considered an important pillar of the UAE economy , the government policy has always been to diversify the economy as this will help in avoiding the risk of depending on a single economic source.

He highlighted the roles played by the government in different domains such as encouraging national and foreign investments, enhancing the role of women in the society, marinating the norms and values of the community.

Sheikh Sultan reiterated that under the prudent leadership of HH the President and his brothers Their Highness , the Rulers of the emirates , the UAE would surely going to be among the leading countries in the world.

Abdurrahman Mohammed Al Owais
Abdurrahman Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development congratulated President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai and their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers, on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the UAE National Day.

He also greeted General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the occasion.

In his speech in 'Dira Al Watan' magazine, Al Owais said: "On this today, the will and determination of our leadership and nation came together, and hence, the development procession began moving smoothly to cover all the fields, including 'culture' in its general theme".

"Since the inception of UAE federation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan devoted his life for the progress and revival of culture setting the course which is later followed by Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed to provide creative efforts to introduce our culture to the world".

Al Owais said the UAE is enjoying the fruits of the federation launched 36 years ago under the wise leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, noting that the UAE has achieved a prestigious international status in politics, economy and culture.

Al Owais pointed out that the UAE has launched awards for efforts to promote culture based on the directions of H.H Sheikh Khalifa who once said "Nations are not valued by their material wealth but by originality of their civilization". (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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Women played pivotal role in UAE development: Sheikha Fatima
posted on 02/12/2007

The UAE women have played a pivotal role in the formidable achievements that the country has made during the last three decades, said H.H Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the UAE General Women's Union (GWU), In a statement on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikha Fatima paid tribute to the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Sheikha Fatima also paid homage to other co-founders of the UAE Federation whose meetings of minds culminated in the birth of the federation in 1971.

"The late Sheikh Zayed was a strong proponent of women's rights. He made sure that women were not only empowered but also become proactive partakers in the development of the country", she said She added: From the outset, our people had a strong faith and trust in their leadership. In turn, the leaders did not disappoint the people. They served them to the best of their ability. Today, our country stands tall among countries of the world".

Sheikha Fatima noted that "unity is strength" and urged her fellow countrymen to stay committed to the ideals of the unity and oneness.

Turning her attention to the youth, Sheikha Fatima urged them to seek knowledge, saying that the UAE gains could best be preserved through knowledge, dedication, and hard work.

She also paid tribute to President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for enhancing the achievement of his forefathers who gave the nations its current nationhood, stability, and economic prosperity. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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National Day Feature: UAE Foreign Policy
posted on 01/12/2007

Since the establishment of the Federation in 1971, UAE foreign policy has been inspired by the principles of moderation, consistency, and support of just causes.

These values were eloquently echoed in President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's address to the 14th legislative chapter of the Federal National Council, when he said "Our foreign policy has been firmly built on mutual respect for other states and non-interference in their internal affairs. UAE relations with other nations are based on the advancement of mutual interests, the cultivation of the spirit of cooperation and good neighbourly relations, and the resolution of disputes through dialogue, cooperation and peaceful means and the enhancement of international peace and security." "Thanks to this policy, we have maintained close relations with the rest of the world. Another salient feature of our foreign policy has been our proactive role in the humanitarian sphere worldwide," Sheikh Khalifa said.

The UAE Constitution has set the salient features upon which the country's foreign policy is based. It states that the federation of UAE is part of the Arab World to which it is linked with bonds of common faith, language, history and destiny. One of the most important objectives of the federation is to establish links between the UAE and all brotherly and friendly UN member countries on the basis of mutual respect and interests.

THE THREE UAE ISLANDS
The UAE has been adopting flexible diplomacy and following a peaceful approach to put an end to the Iranian occupation of the UAE three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

The UAE therefore attempts to have the dispute over the three islands settled through direct negotiations with Iran or reference to the International Court of Justice`.

GCC
The UAE President has vowed to work hand in hand with his brothers the leaders of the GCC countries toward promoting closer ties and fostering political, economic, security, and social integration amongst those nations who are united by bonds of religion, history, language, culture and tribal and other affinities.

The UAE, in coordination with the GCC and Arab League member states, strongly supports diplomatic efforts to contain tension and strife spots in the Middle East and stand for peaceful settlement of disputes in order to enhance world peace and security.

IRAQ
The UAE was one of the first countries to reach out to Iraq and continues to stand by the people of Iraq until they overcome their predicament. The UAE President has reiterated the UAE's support for the Iraq people and urged all Iraqis to unify their stand in this difficult time within the framework of national accord to bring back to their country stability, security and prosperity.

The UAE is optimistically looking forward to the completion of the political transition process in Iraq. The UAE is also reiterating its support for all efforts by the Iraqi government to boost political dialogue among all the Iraqi factions in order to achieve national reconciliation, reconstruction of all Iraqi institutions in a way that would guarantee the unity of Iraq, its independence, regional sovereignty and stability for its people so that Iraq can come back to play its natural role in the region and the world in general.

MIDDLE EAST
The UAE believes that no Middle East settlement is attainable under the state of occupation and siege imposed on the Palestinian people who are suffering the most flagrant humanitarian crisis. It maintains that the continued Israeli aggression can only aggravate the situation and breed more violence which will radiate to the entire region.

UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has called the United Nations and its Security Council to play a more proactive role, beside the Troika, in reactivating the Middle East peace negotiations. In his address of the United Nations' 62nd session in New York, Sheikh Abdullah stressed that no durable settlement of the Arab Israeli conflict could be achieved until Israel accepted the Arab Peace Initiative which was based on the Security Council resolutions and international legitimacy. He also reiterated the UAE's unequivocal support of Syria's right to regain full sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

"The UAE hopes that the international Conference on Peace in the Middle East to be held next autumn will come up with a durable, comprehensive, and balanced settlement," Sheikh Abdullah said.

Sheikh Abdullah commended the UN efforts to restore stability and security to Lebanon. He urged for pressure on Israel in order to honour its legal obligations under resolution 1701 and to respect Lebanon's territorial integrity, stop frequent infringements of its territories, and withdraw from Shabaa Farms and Al Ghajar Village.

The Foreign Minister voiced the UAE support of Lebanon's reconstruction efforts. He referred in this respect to scores of humanitarian and reconstruction programmes staged in Lebanon, including the large-scale demining operation initiated by the UAE in 2001 to which it had earmarked US$50 million.

ARAB & ISLAMIC SOLIDARITY
The UAE has always been an unequivocal supporter of other Arab and Islamic countries. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had played an instrumental role in closing Arab and Islamic ranks. The UAE has contributed effectively to promoting inter-Arab cooperation and supporting the Organisation of Islamic Conference. (OIC) Addressing the 34th session of the OIC Foreign Ministers Conference held in Pakistan last may, UAE State Minister for External Affairs Mohammed Hussain Al Shaaali said "The UAE follows with deep concern the predicament and inhuman suffering of several Muslim nations around the world.

Based on the instructions of the UAE President, has extended humanitarian, medical, and developmental aid to these Muslim nations through the various organizations including Abu Dhabi Development fund, the Red Crescent Authority and other philanthropic organizations.

FIGHTING TERRORISM
The UAE was one of the first countries that called for standing against terrorism. In July 2004, a federal law on fighting terrorist crimes was enacted.

President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has reiterated the UAE condemnation of all forms of terrorism as contradictory with all religious and human values. He vowed to put all the UAE's resources at the disposal of the international community's efforts to combat terrorism.

The UAE declared that any terrorist act committed anywhere in the world imposed a direct threat on not only world peace and security but also all human virtues and the right of mankind to live in peace.

Weapons of Mass Destruction The UAE has always called for removal of weapons of mass destruction and for declaring the Middle East and the GCC an area free of these lethal weapons.

At many UN conferences, the UAE has demanded that Israeli be required to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by giving it access to its nuclear activities and facilities.

The UAE believes that the frequent wars and Israel's occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories are not the only factors behind the volatility of the Middle East and the GCC region. Other key factors are at play including Israel's possession of nuclear arsenal and the endeavours of other countries to acquire nuclear reactors outside the IAAE control. This situation, the UAE maintains, poses a grave threat to the peace and security of the neighbouring countries as well as the entire region and the world at large.

The UAE called for adoption of a balanced policy that would ensure adherence of all parties to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It also asserted the right of all nations, particularly the developing countries, to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the guidelines set by IAEA.

In this respect, the Foreign Minister welcomed the IAEA-Iran agreement on setting a timetable for settlement of the pending issues related to Iran's nuclear programme. He voiced the UAE support of IAEA's call for keeping the Middle East a nuke-free region, stressing that Israel should not remain out of the nuclear non-proliferation arrangement.

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY
The UAE welcomes the efforts being exerted toward creating a world fund for fighting poverty by 2015. It believes that closer cooperation between the North and the South will help address the negative impact of frequent economic crises and ensures constant flow of aid and basic commodities. The UAE is also in favour of revising globalization and trade liberalization policies to be more responsive to the concerns and needs of developing nations. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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National Day Feature: UAE economy sets to scale new heights
posted on 01/12/2007

United Arab Emirates will continue to strengthen its position as a primary regional trade, business and investment powerhouse.

The strategy will continue in part thanks to higher oil revenues and zero-deficit budget, while keeping a close eye on sound public spending, economic diversification drive.

Several top-notch international finance institutions and funds have recently issued reports that laud the UAE's dramatic economic boom, and suggesting the trend will continue in the coming years.

The UAE's Gross Domestic Product is projected to rise to DH 697 billion in 2007.

In 2006, the UAE recorded nominal GDP growth of 23.4 percent over 2005, with an overall UAE gross domestic product (GDP) of DH 599 billion, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, minister of economy, has said. She said the non-hydrocarbon sector's contribution has been increasing steadily over the past few years even with the high international oil prices.

"The sector's contribution went up from 46 percent in 1990 to 62.5 percent in 2006, an indicator of the successful economic diversification policy of our government," she added.

"We have already shown evidence of this in the way we have built upon our traditional strengths, and particularly Dubai's role as a regional trading centre and entry port. The UAE is blessed with great wealth from oil and our mission has been to exploit our commercial expertise to develop the economy." She said the rise in oil income has allowed the UAE to create a balanced growth spanning across all economic sectors.

The UAE economy, she added, rests on strong fundamentals that are not merely oil-driven. Sectors like tourism, education, media, health, industry and finance have evolved as ideal platforms for enhanced investment.

'The economy has performed admirably over the past few years, and is poised to forge ahead with assertiveness and confidence. All-round development is perceptible in every emirate offering more opportunities for investors and making rapid strides in developmental initiatives," she said.

The 2006 Growth Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum said: '"The UAE is working aggressively toward economic modernization, diversification into new oil and non-oil based manufacturing and service activities, and encouragement of the private sector." The report added: 'The UAE economy is rapidly growing and is expected to grow even at a higher rate in the coming years. The UAE has become the single most important trade hub in the region and the third largest re-export centre in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore.

According to the UAE central bank governor, Sultan Al Suweidi, the GDP has been growing at a rate of more than 10 percent at current prices in the last 10 years, adding that, with higher world oil prices, the UAE Economy will continue to do well.

"The UAE will continue to be a trade and business centre and a tourist destination in the region and certain economic sectors will continue to grow," Al Suweidi has said.

Last month, the cabinet passed the federal budget for 2008. The budget of Dh34.9 billion is the UAE's biggest and has the highest increase rate in the history of the federation, with a hike of Dh6.7 billion over the 2007 budget, which stood at Dh23.8 billion. It is also the fourth consecutive free-deficit state budget.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STRATEGY
The UAE Government Strategy has been launched with a core message to ensure sustainable overall development.

In his launching speech, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, said: "The strategy has been inspired by the 'empowerment' speech, delivered by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the 34th anniversary of the UAE National Day.

The strategy seeks to stimulate economic growth, strengthen the competitiveness of the national economy, and upgrade regulations and legislation to match current and expected economic growth. The capabilities to implement these parameters should also be developed, Sheikh Mohammed said.

The strategy also seeks to establish a national competitiveness council to advise the federal government on competitiveness issues, establish a national statistics office and prepare a federal framework for minimum regulations requirements for both free zones and special economic zones, such as labour rights and environment conservation requirements.

ABU DHABI: STEAMING AHEAD
Gross Domestic Product of the emirate of Abu Dhabi is projected to rise by 8.2 percent in 2007 and will maintain a steady growth rate of no less than 13 percent to hit DH 584 billion in 2010, according to a report by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI).

The report expected non-oil sectors to keep a vibrant annual growth of at least than 18 percent. The share of non-oil sectors in the GDP is expected, by the report, to rise to DH 163 billion in 2007, up from DH 138 billion in 2006. It will post a phenomenal jump to DH 263 billion in 2010, the report anticipated.

The report attributed future growth in the emirate's non-oil sectors to the huge investments to be made in the coming years to develop and boost the emirate's various economic sectors. These sectors accounted for 37 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP in 2006, a contribution that is expected to surge to 45 percent by 2010.

The private sector's significant contribution to the economic growth of Abu Dhabi has accounted for 17 per cent of the emirate's GDP in 2006 and is expected to surge to 20 percent in the years ahead, said the report.

PLAN ABU DHABI 2030
Urban Structure Framework Plan: The Government of Abu Dhabi has unveiled the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, a comprehensive plan for the development of the city of Abu Dhabi that will guide planning decisions for the next quarter of a century.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has said: "This urban plan provides a strong and comprehensive foundation for the development of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, in a strategic and coordinated way.

'It will ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy and be inspired by ongoing access to the desert, sea and natural assets that are integral to our national identity, while building a global capital with its own rich cultural heritage."

DUBAI: COMMERCIAL CAPITAL
UAE's commercial capital of Dubai remains to be the country's "key driving force" in the exceptional growth of its non-oil GDP. According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Dubai accounted for 43 percent of UAE's non-oil GDP and 28 percent, or Dh168.78 billion, of the total GDP of Dh599.23 billion in 2006.

Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the Dubai Strategic Plan (DSP) 2015. The EDP will be integrated with federal plans for the development of the UAE.

The Dubai Strategic Plan, despite having its own logic and specific goals, is aligned with the country's overall strategic plan, he has noted. The plan includes maintaining double-digit economic growth, achieving a GDP of $108 billion and increasing real GDP per capita to $44,000 by 2015 by increasing productivity by 4 percent per annum and creating new growth sectors.

The plan includes developing the emirate's most dynamic sectors, which have been the key contributors to Dubai's annual real GDP growth rate of 13 percent since 2000.

'We will focus on economic sectors that we have strong competitive advantage in and that are expected to experience future growth globally. The sectors of strength are tourism, transport, trade, construction, and financial services, in addition to the creation of new sectors with sustainable competitive edge, Sheikh Mohammed has indicated.

'The plan would not be affected by oil price fluctuations. We have succeeded in diversifying Dubai's sources of income and reduced dependence on oil such that oil's contribution to GDP is a mere 3 percent today," he said when unveiling the Strategic Plan.

The Economic Development Plan (EDP) will focus on sectors that have made the most significant contribution to GDP.

INVESTMENT
To attract more foreign capital, the ministry of economy has launched the "Investors' Guide to the UAE" - the one-stop information source for business investors. The annual guidebook highlights potential investment opportunities in different business sectors of the UAE. It also provides details of the legal requirements and up-to-date information for investors who intend to start a business in the country.

Sheikha Lubna has said this guidebook is a true attempt to compile all essential information concerning the UAE business environment in an easy-to-read format.

"We have tried to provide comprehensive and accurate information, which honestly reflects the industrial economic reality and which will be a useful tool for companies and individuals wishing to invest in the UAE," she added.

The minister said, 'The country has created the necessary conditions for attracting more foreign direct investments. It boasts of state-of-the-art infrastructure, free market economy, political stability, flexible legislation and tax-free policies, among others. All these factors are increasingly attracting direct foreign investment." According to the Berlin-based Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, published in 2006, the UAE has the highest level of transparency among Arab countries.

'It (UAE) has witnessed a dramatic growth in its economy over the past few years. This has led to a vibrant and dynamic business environment, which is attracting foreign investors. The UAE's three decades of market-oriented economic policy have promoted a liberal and open environment and encouraged the role of the private sector," the report said.

The tremendous increase in foreign investments is a major factor in the development of the UAE and has paved the way for investment in future projects.

In 2006, the UAE attracted 60 percent of the $26 billion total foreign direct investment (FDI) into the GCC, according to the United Nation Conference on Economy and Trade (UNCTAD).

IMF
The latest International Monetary Fund country report on the UAE forecasts a 60 percent rise in nominal GDP from $185 to $294 billion from 2007 to 2012.

The study assumes that oil prices will remain in the mid-$60-a-barrel range for the forecast period, and that oil production will rise from 2.58 to 3.05 million barrels per day in 2012. Non-hydrocarbon revenues are set to double to $49 billion, of which a half will be from investments.

Gross domestic investment as a percentage of GDP will continue at the very high level of 21-26 percent for the 2007-2012 period, with national saving as a proportion of GDP expected to be above 40 percent.

The report also commented on the regional spill over effect from the growth in the UAE economy, with nations such as Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt benefiting from UAE direct investment.

In short, the IMF presents a picture of sustainable high growth levels in the UAE, with the diversification of this hydrocarbon based economy proceeding apace thanks to huge domestic investment.

INTERNATIONAL TESTIMONY
The UAE is the third most supportive economy in the world in terms of entrepreneurial activities, coming after the United States and Singapore, according to a report by UAE's first Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

"We are glad to see the culmination of this collective effort that maps out the entrepreneurship environment in the UAE," said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, chief executive officer of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders, which sponsored the study.

The report called, however, for a more understanding of entrepreneurial activity in the UAE at the grass-root level. It also emphasized the role of education in promoting and sustaining entrepreneurship in the country.

Al Janahi said the report converged with the strategic plans for economic development laid out by both the Dubai leadership and the UAE government.

"We believe the GEM report will help set a clear roadmap towards achieving this strategic objective," Al Janahi said. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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RCA's Humanitarian and Charity Projects
posted on 01/12/2007

The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) has spent in the last few years more than two billion dirhams on humanitarian and charity projects it embarked upon in many Arab and Muslim countries where the RCA also reached out to needy families and victims of various kinds of human and natural disasters.

Commenting on the RCA's activities and achievements, Deputy Prime Minister and RCA Chairman, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said the RCA is proud to be among the first to arrive at any disaster-stricken area in the world to reach out to people in distress. "This pride pushes us to do more and to double our efforts to improve upon our performance in humanitarian activities," he said. "Success, they say, leads to more successes," he added.

Sheikh Hamdan said the continuous support the RCA receives from President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his guidance and directives are the secret behind the RCA's successes in implementing its programmes, adding that despite the great successes of the RCA in its humanitarian services both inside the country and abroad, his outfit will continue to exert more efforts to continue to reach out to people in distress in Arab, Muslim and friendly countries worldwide.

The world today continues to witness tragic humanitarian situations, which affects directly the life of millions of people, mainly women and children. Many parts of the world face major humanitarian challenges due to armed conflicts and natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, famine and desertification, in addition to "silent disasters" like hunger, poverty and diseases that are ravaging in poor countries.

In view of this difficult situation and humanitarian tragedies, the UAE is doing its best to minimize the negative effects of those disasters on their victims, to alleviate their sufferings. The UAE has so far excelled in this area, thanks to the late UAE founder and leader, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for his vision, high humanitarian spirit, generosity, exemplary leadership and humanitarian initiatives.

The UAE made its presence felt in many of the world's hotspots through the good works of a number of UAE humanitarian organisations, including the UAE RCA, which continues to play vital roles on the world humanitarian scenes thereby upholding the name of the UAE to greater heights.

Many factors have contributed to making the RCA a leading organisation in humanitarian services at the international level. Notable among these factors are the big support the RCA continues to receive from President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the personal follow-up of the RCA activities by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Through their support, the RCA became one of the world's leading supporters of international efforts to minimise the risks threatening many vulnerable peoples of the world.

Commenting on the RCA's activities and achievements, RCA board chairman, Khalifa Nasir Al Suwaidi said the RCA's role has grown in recent years due to the sharp rise in the cases of disasters and crisis in many countries of the world, therefore aggravating the major challenges being faced by humanitarian organisations. He said the RCA, in view of those challenges, drew up effective strategies and plans to deal with those challenges without compromising its basic principles and humanitarian commitments towards the people benefiting from its services inside the country and abroad, adding that records and statistics show that the RCA has spent more than two billion dirhams on its humanitarian and charity programmes inside and outside the UAE in the past two decades.

He pointed out that RCA programmes had witnessed a great development over the years and attributed that to the directives and guidance of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He said the RCA attaches great importance to the execution of its local programmes, which is being closely followed up personally by Sheikh Hamdan, adding that Sheikh Hamdan has been giving directives regularly for the increment of the local budget to improve the lots of the local beneficiaries of the RCA services.

He said the social care department of the RCA reflects the values and principles which the organisation is trying to entrench inside the country. This, he added, is manifested in the RCA's activities and programmes for the low income, the distressed and the weak groups, in addition to the various charity projects which serve a large segment of the UAE society, including UAE nationals and expatriates, as well as its support for a number of institutions operating in vital areas like health, education, social care, etc to help them implement their programmes.

He noted that, on the local scene, the RCA had intensified its activities, having expanded to more areas and increased the number of beneficiaries of its services, which include humanitarian and medical assistance, social sponsorship (sponsoring of students, caring for prisoners, rehabilitating the handicapped persons, etc). "Other programmes include seasonal programmes like "Iftar" meals for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, Zakat el-Fitr (Charity) during the Eid el Fitr festival, providing sacrificial rams for poor and deprived Muslim family during the Eid el Adha festival, providing new dresses for poor and deprived Muslim families during the Eid el Fitr and Eid el Adha festivals and providing assistance to poor Muslims to go for Hajj," he explained.

Also commenting on the RCA's activities and achievements, the RCA Secretary General, Dr. Saleh Al Tae, said the Relief and Projects sector of the RCA is fully prepared for emergency relief operations to alleviate the sufferings of people in distress in disaster-stricken areas, adding that the RCA responds rapidly to distress calls from affected peoples, national organisations, the International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian organisations.

He pointed out that the RCA also engages in charity, construction and development projects through which it engages in reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure in conflict or disaster-stricken zones. He said his outfit had expanded horizontally and vertically in the provision of services, adding that the RCA's relief operations cover 95 countries of the world with special emphasis on Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and other Horn of Africa countries, as well as disaster-stricken Asian countries which were devastated by the tsunami in December 2004 and the earthquake in Pakistan, where the RCA operations continue to date. The RCA is still engaged in those areas by providing assistance to the victims and reconstructing their destroyed infrastructure.

Al Tae said the RCA also lays emphasis on its programme of caring for orphans, which it regards as very important, adding that the response of philanthropists to RCA programmes is very positive and commendable.

He pointed out that the RCA now sponsors 43,468 orphans inside the UAE and abroad, having spent on them from the beginning of the year up to the end of last September an amount of AED57, 392,978, while total expenses on them last year stood at AED92, 411,719. He said the orphans are in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, adding that the RCA provides for the orphans healthcare, education, social services and other things that help them adjust comfortably in the society and give them hope for future life.

Touching on RCA cadres, Al Tae said they are voluntary workers who help implement the RCA programmes inside the UAE and abroad. He said the RCA has special section for volunteers' affairs. The section is tasked with recruiting, training and assigning the cadres. The training polishes their skills and enables them to discharge their assigned duties with utmost competence, he added.

The RCA has won high international reputation for its excellent service. This has won it a special place among international humanitarian organisations, including the board membership of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, membership of the executive committee of the Organisation of Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies, as well as membership of major committees of a number of international organisations.

The RCA has participated in many consultation meetings for improving the performance of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and for protecting human dignity. The RCA is working harder to achieve more international laurels and accolades in humanitarian services.

Locally, the RCA has spread its wings wider to deliver its services in all nooks and crannies of the country by opening branch offices in Al Ain, Western Region of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, in addition to its supply centre at the Jebel Ali Free Zone. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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UAE 36TH National Day
posted on 29/11/2007

The UAE marks the 36th anniversary of its National Day on December 2. As the nation celebrates this anniversary, it cannot but pay tribute to its founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, under whose visionary leadership many remarkable strides were made.

Sheikh Zayed left behind an impressive legacy, a huge legacy that speaks of itself in various fields of human development. Today, the UAE has gained a conspicuous place among the comity of nations, thanks to its socio-economic achievements.
With major economic development projects achieved within a record time span of three decades, the country is now laying greater emphasis on empowerment of its people, a task which was clearly spelt out recently by the President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a major speech at the Federal National Council (FNC) on February 12, 2007, Sheikh Khalifa outlined his vision for the growth of the nation. Cognizant of the challenges of this new era, he told the august house: "Sky is the limit to our aspirations. The next phase of national action will be to transform our visions into strategies and eventually into tangible achievements of which our people would be proud to defend.".
Central to this vision, is the empowerment of our people, he said, adding: "The gist of what we perceive as Empowerment (Tamkeen) is our ability to harness the skills of our people and enable them take a proactive part in the development of their country. They should also be able to lead a decent, secure, and stable life, a life that is free from any forms of threats. We should create an environment that allows for creativity and innovation", he said Sheikh Khalifa further told the house that current government's efforts to boost the competence and performance of the public sector were part of a grand strategy which, he said, does not contradict with parallel efforts to enhance the role of the private sector.
"The country remains committed to supporting the private sector. This support is crucial in view of the mega projects that are now underway.
"We are not only determined to diversify the production base of our private sector but also committed to sharpening its competitive edge. We want our private sector to make its presence strongly felt in the international markets", he said.
Sheikh Khalifa stressed the role of the private sector, describing it as a partner in the development of the country. He stressed the need for accurate planning that takes demographic, environmental and security issues into account.
"Investment and construction are not ends by themselves. Rather, they are means to achieving enduring prosperity, security, and social stability for our people", he said.
The President made it clear that he was against any investments that do not take environmental impacts into consideration. "Although we remain committed to a free market economy, we will not allow any investments that would lead to environmental degradation or impinge on our security and national identity", he said.
On the political reforms in the country, Sheikh Khalifa cited the first ever elections of the Federal National Council (FNC) as historic. These elections, he said, have set the country firmly on the path towards wider public involvement in the decision-making process.
Addressing the new members of the 40-seat house, Sheikh Khalifa urged the house to present new ideas to develop the policy-making process and improve the performance of executive and judicial branches of government.
"These ideas would also reinforce security and justice, improve the level of transparency, accountability, and integrity, and promote the rights and freedoms. "You are entrusted by the citizens to represent them and to reflect their aspirations and needs," he told the new members. Sheikh Khalifa went to describe the new legislative chapter as a culmination of the achievements made over the past 35 years, notably in maintaining the UAE federation and realising national goals that were set by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the founding fathers of the UAE.
Sheikh Khalifa told the house that he would soon announce new steps to enhance the role of the federal house as a legislative authority that supports and guides the executive and judicial branches.
"This will be done within the context of the supremacy of the law and the integration of roles and responsibilities among various institutions of the state," he said. The President expressed his delight that a woman was among the six victorious candidates in the first elections. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi became the first woman to be elected to the council. Alongside Dr. Al Qubaisi, women were also represented by eight other women parliamentarians. The victory of a woman in FNC polls was widely hailed as a mark of their success in all fields. It also underscored the support extended to women by political leadership.

Government Strategy
The UAE Government unveiled its strategy for 2008-2010 on April 17th, in a major ceremony that was attended by President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Speaking shortly after the historic strategy was unveiled by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Khalifa welcomed the federal strategy, saying it marks a new beginning for the government sector performance in the UAE He added: "This strategy epitomises our ambitious vision to propel our country to new highs. As we seek to take our people to new horizons, we will continue to adhere to our indigenous values and principles upon which our nation was founded".
The declaration of this strategy at this point in time, said Khalifa, underscores our commitment to evolve a serious national action, which is aimed at cementing the UAE federation.
"This means we should augment inter-federal work so as preserve our achievements and make more gains in the years to come", the President said.
He added that the strategy has the welfare of UAE nationals at its core, ensuring high quality of life for them, and also ensuring sustainable development.
Sheikh Khalifa also expressed confidence in the ability of H.H Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his ministerial team to implement the strategy. Sheikh Khalifa concluded his remarks by calling upon UAE nationals cadres to lent support to the government as it implements the strategy.
For his part, Sheikh Mohammed who unveiled the strategy said the landmark blueprint for government performance was inspired by the Empowerment "Tamkeen" speech, delivered by President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the 34th anniversary of the UAE National Day.
In an extensive speech on the launch of the strategy, Sheikh Mohammed said: "This strategy has been inspired by the Empowerment "Tamkeen" speech, which gave us the roadmap to follow on the 34th anniversary of the Federation, the core message of which is to ensure sustainable development and a high standard of living for all UAE nationals".
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE Government Strategy sets the foundations for a new era of public policy. He also paid tribute to the founding fathers of the UAE, saying their "high integrity in living up to the trust bestowed upon them, how they fulfilled their duties towards this land and its people, and how they left us with a clear conscience, self fulfilment and the love and appreciation of their people".
He added: "We followed their lead in building this country, guided by their ultimate devotion, absorbing their wisdom and generosity, and embracing their teachings and guidelines. Our inspiration is their strong will, unfaltering steps, and determination to conquer challenges in order to make our vision and our people's hopes and aspirations come true. They have entrusted us with a strong legacy and we ask Allah to help us and bless us with a determination, clear vision, and loyal men to continue the work that they began", he said.
Broadly, the strategy covers six sectors, namely Social Development, Economic Development, Government Sector Development, Justice and Safety, Infrastructure and Rural Areas Development.

Economic Prosperity
UAE`s Gross Domestic Product is projected to rise to Dh 697 billion in 2007, according to the country's Investment Climate report for 2006, published by the Ministry of Finance & Industry.
The report, which was prepared by the ministry in collaboration with the Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation, provides indicators for macro economy, investment promotion activities, legislative and corporate developments, tourism sector and the new economy initiatives.
According to the report, the country's real GDP rose by 35 percent in 2006 to Dh 642 billion, compared with Dh 476.3 billion in 2005. It is projected to surge to Dh 697 billion in 2007.
Gross fixed capital formation grew by 10.7 percent in 2006 to Dh 121 billion, against Dh 93.8 billion in the previous year, while the surplus in current accounts of balance of payment reached Dh 130.4 billion up by Dh 60.2 billion from 2005.
UAE`s trade exchange with rest of the world witnessed a significant growth in 2006, registering Dh 937.3 billion, or 146 percent of the GDP. During that year, UAE signed bilateral investment cooperation agreements with 32 countries and agreements for prevention of double taxation with 44 countries.
The highest rate of flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) came from European countries, followed by Asian countries, Russia, Australia, Arab countries, Americas and Africa. Revenues from tourism jumped to Dh 39.8 billion, against Dh 32.4 billion in 2005 as the number of tourists rose to 6 million. The number of hotels also increased to 306 from 290 in 2005.

Property development investment
The UAE is witnessing the fastest and unprecedented boom in the construction sector in the Middle East. These huge world class construction projects have wooed bulk foreign investments. The boom covered all the UAE emirates. Al Dar, Emaar, Sorouh, Nakheel, Dubai Property, Manazil, Al Qudra, Reem investment, Ta'meer, Dubai land and Sama Dubai are the leading UAE companies which are executing over 300 major and small projects.
The projects under construction in the UAE are estimated at DH 1.83 trillion equivalent to US$498 billion till March 2007 at growth of 83.4 per cent compared to previous year in which the projects under construction were worth Dhs997 billion.
The amount earmarked by the UAE to develop 325 islands touches DH 454 billion in next 10 years, among them natural and man-made islands. The main developed islands are Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, Lagoons project in Dubai, Al Nakheel project in Jebel Ali, Al Nakeel Deira, Umm Al Shaoum Island, Lulu Emarat, Al Kahraman islands project, Saraya islands, Mangrove islands, Al Marjan Island and Fujairah Island.

Water and Electricity T
The UAE has commenced privatisation of water and electricity, and wooed foreign investment to execute strategic projects in this sector in order to meet requirements of architectural, real estate, tourism, commercial and major industrial projects, which are being executed across the country.
These projects are also aimed at meeting the growing needs of population in urban areas and new residential areas as well.
Hence, The Ministries of Energy, and Environment and Water, as well as, The Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA), Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (ADEWA), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) and Fujairah Water and Electricity Plant continue their plans to execute vital projects in the sectors of water and electricity.
The FEWA, an independent establishment, was set up 2001. It supervises and manages the water and electricity projects and premises in the northern emirates, where it raised the power production in 2006 to 1362 mega/watt, while water production capacity at the water desalination plants rose to 48.14 million gallon daily.
Since its inception in 1998, ADEWA attracted foreign investment about DH 40 billion in line with its privatization programme, while the DEWA earmarked DH 50 billion to execute its five-year plan from 2006-2010. SEWA earmarked about DH4.4 billion to execute the developmental plan till 2025.
The UAE has started to benefit from its natural resources through employing high tech to develop alternative and renewal energies to produce solar and wind power.

Tourism
The UAE has topped the list of Middle East and North Africa countries as it was ranked the 18th worldwide in regard to competitiveness in field of tourism and travel, according to annual report released by the World Economic Forum (DAVOS).
The survey, which covered 124 countries, revealed that the UAE was well ahead of some developed countries in the tourism sector.
In fact, the UAE enjoys good tourism infrastructure that woos tourists. In addition to political stability, security, strategic location that links the East and the West and stable weather through six months in a year. There are also modern airports, seaports, road network, communications and shopping malls.
The UAE enjoys 700Km long sand beaches and distinguished 450 hotels, archaeological sites, heritage centres, museums, golf courses, polo courses, popular sports like diving, hunting, world horse race, camel race, old dhows race, modern boats race, water surfing, sand surfing, aerobatic show and other tourism attraction activities.
In 2006, over 6.5 million tourists worldwide visited the UAE, while the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that the tourism and travel sector will earn the UAE DH 125 billion in 2007.

Transport
The UAE has built advanced infrastructure in transport sector. It has also constructed extensive network of airports, international airports, international aviation companies, road network, bridges, tunnels and other projects, which levelled the UAE with advanced countries.
The railways system has been introduced for the first time in the UAE. Work is underway to introduce metro in Dubai emirate at cost DH15 billion. Meanwhile, studies have been completed to construct railways project in emirate of Abu Dhabi, which will link all the UAE emirates.
The UAE has seven international airports: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Al Ain. There are three international airports in Abu Dhabi emirate: Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Ain International Airport and Al Bateen International Airport, which is allocated for VIP reception.
A number of passengers travelling via different UAE airports have reached 38 million during 2007, while a number of registered planes in UAE reached 240. The number of aviation companies, which operate via the UAE airports reached 275 companies.
The national carriers; Etihad Airline, Emirates Airline and Al Arabia have registered quality shift as their fleets increased destinations worldwide.
Etihad Airline flies to 45 destinations. It carried four million passengers in 2007. Emirates Airline flies to 93 destinations. It carried 17.5 million in 2007. Al Arabia flies to 35 destinations. It carried 1.76 million passengers in 2006.
The UAE has more than 26 seaports, of which 15 are main seaports. There are many free zones at these seaports. They offer facilitations and exemptions to woo foreign investment and spur investors to set commercial, industrial, and service enterprises, which support the national economy. The largest free zone is Jebel Ali, which hosts over 6000 industrial, investment, and commercial firms.

Environment
The UAE created in 2006 a special Ministry of Environment and Water due to its priorities on issues of environment and due to the UAE's keenness to develop regional and international cooperation in the environmental field.
It has scored distinguished achievements in preserving and protection of the environment, among others fighting desertification through forestation and agricultural land acclamation to preserve biological variety and setting up of protracted natural marine and land areas, combating pollution, protection of natural resources and preserving of endangered species through adherence to the CITES convention.
The UAE joined all the regional and international protocols and agreements related with the environment and sustainable development. It also entered into the regional and international partnership to push plans and environmental projects through launching the Zayed International Environment Award and the Abu Dhabi World Environment Data.
The UAE hosted the World Conference on sustainable energy resources in arid lands in Feb. 2007.
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan issued 180 awards and appreciation certificates in recognition of Arab, regional and international efforts in protection of environment.

Development of Human Resources
The empowerment phase launched by H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan gives maximum emphasis to the role of citizens in achieving revitalisation project.
The Federal Government Strategy stresses carrying out many human resources development programmes on rehabilitation and training of UAE nationals to take part positively in the coming period.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai said when he announced the Government Strategy that the citizen is the focus of policies and state projects.

Woman Awakening
The UAE woman has earned national gains by participating in the three sovereign authorities: executive, legislative, and judicial authorities. The women are represented by two ministers in the Cabinet and nine members at the National Federal Council, out of total 40 MPs.
They represent 22 per cent of the FNC MPs. The women are also represented with two public prosecutors at the Judiciary Department in Abu Dhabi.
Due to the support of H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and follow up of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the Supreme Women Foundation and Chairperson of the Woman Federation, the women represent 59 per cent of the UAE national workforce, of which 30 per cent are in the leading posts.
About 60 per cent of the women workforce occupy technical jobs such as, medicine, teaching, pharmacology, nursing, police, Armed Forces, customs.
They also joined business sector. As a result the Businesswomen Council has been set up, with 10, 700 members investing worth DH 12.5 billion at the market.

Foreign Policy
The UAE extensively opened up to the world over the last two years. It struck political, economic, commercial, cultural, educational and health strategic partnerships with many countries worldwide. They earned the country a prestigious position in the international community.
Sheikh Khalifa reiterated while receiving 54 UAE ambassadors and representatives at the regional and international organisation on Oct. 9, 2007 that "the foreign policy of the UAE is based on firm principles in line with its adherence to the United Nations charter, respect to the international agreements and establishing the relations with other countries based on mutual respect and non interference on other peoples' affairs.
He added that "our foreign policy advocates settling of conflicts through dialogue and amicable methods, supporting, and contributing to international stability and peace." Sheikh Khalifa underscored that the moderate course taken by the UAE, besides its social security, political stability, has earned it a prestigious position.
Openness Year 2007 was intensively characterized by mutual visits between the UAE and many countries worldwide.
Sheikh Khalifa visited in 2007 France, Syria, Algeria, and Kazakhstan. He led UAE delegation to the 27th conference of GCC countries. Meanwhile, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai visited Sultanate Oman, Bahrain, Tunis, China, Portugal, Vietnam, India and Uzbekistan.
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces also visited Saudi Arabia, Sultanate Oman, Qatar, France, Russia, US, Pakistan and Germany.
Joint GCC Work The UAE has been sustaining the joint GCC work since its inception in Abu Dhabi on May 25, 1981. It promoted the bilateral relations with the GCC countries through agreements and mutual visits.
It has followed peace approach and flexible diplomacy to terminate the occupation of three UAE Islands by Iran either through direct serious talks or referral to the International Court of Justice.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs decried at the UN's General Assembly meeting, failure of the international body to end the occupation of the three islands.
The Middle East Peace The UAE plays a pivotal role in efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East through its distinguished relations with the international community and its membership in the Arab quartet, which was set up at the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh.
Sheikh Abdullah expressed his disappointment at the UN on Sept. 28, 2007 about the situation in the Middle East, particularly in the Palestinian territories due to continuous Israeli occupation.
He added that the solution of Arab-Israel conflict would be settled unless Israel accepts the Arab Peace Initiative, which based of the UN's Security Council resolutions and the international legitimacy.

Anti-terrorism
The UAE has joined 14 international agreements related to the anti terrorism. It endorsed the last one on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
The UAE has also endorsed the regulations and procedures allowing it to monitor and freeze suspicious banking financial transactions use in financing terrorist activities. Earlier, the UAE has issued anti terrorism crime law in 2004 and money laundering law in 2002 and set the Counter Terrorism National Committee.
Sheikh Abdullah said before the UN on Sept. 28, 2007, that the UAE cooperates with all efforts to combat all forms of terrorism, including money laundering.

International cooperation
Since it joined the UN in December 1971, the UAE has been active in supporting the international body activities due to the fact that the UN charter, laws, and international norms represent human conscience and boost international relations to maintain international peace, security, and sustainable development.
The UAE enjoys cooperation agreements with 28 UN organisations, which run 80 consultative missions in the country at a number of federal ministries, local department public institutions.
It enjoys diplomatic relations at the level of ambassadors with 159 countries worldwide. The number of embassies rose to 53, including permanent missions in New York and Geneva and nine general consulates in a number of Asian and European countries.
The number of resident embassies to the UAE rose to 119, among 33 non resident embassies compared to three embassies only in 1971. They were British, US and Pakistani embassies.
The number of consulates in the country is 64 in Dubai, besides 12 offices for regional and international programmes, as well as, resident organizations.
The UAE established diplomatic ties in 2007 with North Korea, Salvador, Serbia, The Republic of Nauru, Congo Brazzaville, Cyprus, and Vatican.


Foreign aid
The UAE has continuously worked to develop its foreign aid programme to support development and stability in the developing countries.
It called for the international community to adhere to effective international mechanism to ensure flow of assistance to the developing countries.
The UAE is keen to implement resolutions and programmes agreed by the leaders at the Millennium 2000. It has funded developmental projects in the Middle East and Africa in form of loans and grants worth US$70.
The loans and grants offered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development until 2006 were worth DH21.188 billion, of which 52 countries in the Arab, African and Asian countries benefited, as well as, other countries.

The Khalifa Foundation for Charity Works
It was established in July 2007. The foundation aims at sending aid to the needy and achieving social solidarity. It offered in July 2007 US$10 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to help the Iraqi refugees in Syria.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai announced at the World Economic Forum (DAVOS), which was held at the Dead Sea in Jordan on May 19, 2005, establishment of the Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation. He allocated US$10 billion to fund the projects and programmes of the foundation.

'Dubai Cares' campaign
Sheikh Mohammed launched the Dubai Cares campaign, a humanitarian initiative, on Sept. 19. 2007. It aims at the first phase to provide education to one million children in the poorest countries. The humanitarian initiative, which raised Dh1.7 billion, was hailed by the regional and international organisations.


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