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Abdullah bin Zayed gives interview to Bret Baier of US TV channel Fox News

posted on 23/11/2014

In wide-ranging comments, Sheikh Abdullah reaffirmed the U.A.E.'s opposition to Da'esh, (ISIS), expressed concern about the outcome of talks with Iran on the nuclear issue, warned about the need for more attention to be paid to the situation in Libya and said that the Western powers needed to recognise that the countries of the Middle East understood the region better than outsiders.

Asked about U.A.E. efforts against Da'esh, he responded, "They are trying to hijack our religion, it's not about them not liking other religions, no, they don't like our religion; they don't like the way we practice our Islam." They would like to force their interpretation of Islam on our values, our countries, our families." The full text of the rest of the interview follows.

Bret Baier: Is there enough being done to fight ISIS? Sheikh Abdullah: We cannot get rid of ISIS if the situation in Syria is not dealt with in the appropriate fashion, and that's a tragedy, seeing over 200,000 Syrians slaughtered, and almost 10 million Syrians either refugees or displaced.

Bret Baier: You're taking a leadership role in the fight against terrorism.

You recently came out with a list of terrorist organisations. Two of them raised some eyebrows, as you can imagine, in Washington, the Council of American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim-American Society. Why did you do that?

Sheikh Abdullah: Our threshold is quite low when we talk about extremism. We cannot accept incitement or funding when we look at some of these organisations. For many countries, the definition of terror is that you have to carry a weapon and terrorise people. For us, it's far beyond that; we cannot tolerate even the smallest, tiniest amount of terrorism.

Bret Baier: So you have a zero tolerance on terrorism, on extremism, but do you think that the US is even as tough as you all are on some of these groups? Sheikh Abdullah: You should ask them.

Bret Baier: You worked alongside Egypt to launch strikes against extremist groups in Libya, and that took a lot of people by surprise in Washington.

Sheikh Abdullah: We believe especially (that) the countries who played a role in getting rid of Gaddafi, first of all, should have played a far bigger role the day after. They haven't. But, today they have a huge responsibility in getting Libya on the right side. I don't see a situation where Libya... forget being useful and helpful for the region,... but Libya could be a huge ticking bomb for the region.

Bret Baier: Do you think the US dropped the ball there?

Sheikh Abdullah: I don't want to mention one country or the other, but the entire coalition had a bigger responsibility , which it unfortunately didn't live up to.

Bret Baier: Let me talk to you about Iran, your neighbour just across the Gulf. Now, coming to a head on Monday (is) this nuclear deal. What are your thoughts, concerns about that deal?

Sheikh Abdullah: The question that we in the region will ask, more than what the deal contains or not, is what Iran's role is going to be the day after.

We wake up on Tuesday morning and everyone, and I mean most of us, will ask the question, 'what is Iran going to get out of it, not on the nuclear front but on the regional front?' We would wish obviously that such a deal would look very much like what we have in the U.A.E., where we have no nuclear enrichment, no reprocessing, but obviously that's far from what's going to happen.

Bret Baier: Have you seen how the US plays [actions] in this region, how it's perceived in this region, (has) changed, and if so, how?

Sheikh Abdullah: I think we have to move away from a period where Brussels, Washington, London and Paris think that they know the region better than the people of the region. And I think that is our biggest challenge.

Bret Baier: James Mattis, former CentCom (the US military Central Command) commander, said this about the U.A.E., "Their biggest concern isn't Iran, I's American disengagement" ... (Is that) fair?

Sheikh Abdullah: No, it's not fair, I don't think it's fair. We have challenges of extremism, radicalism, fascism. And we have social challenges, we have economic challenges, political challenges and I think these matters are not being discussed in a way (so that the region can rely enough on its historical partners. It just looks to me that the West are historical partners, either preoccupied with their internal matters or they're a bit too sore with their efforts in the region. I don't think that they've given up but I think they're in a "shield room" or a "glass room", in which they think that their interpretation of the region is the right one.

ret Baier ended the report by saying, "In the words of another former CentCom. commander, Anthony Zinni, the U.A.E. are "All in when it comes to fighting ISIS and terrorists." More military strike aircraft have launched from the airbase here at Al Dhafra than any other military facility in the region. But the real question is: how much influence the U.A.E. will have on other Arab nations about stopping the funding of terrorist organisations and speaking out against radical Islamic extremism? – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


Abdullah bin Zayed, Ethiopian Foreign Minister inaugurate new building for Ethiopian Embassy in Abu Dhabi

posted on 23/11/2014

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom, yesterday opened the new building for Ethiopian Embassy at Al Bateen in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah and Adhanom unveiled the commemorative plaque to mark the opening of the building.

The U.A.E. Foreign Minister expressed his delight and pride on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates participating in the opening of the new Ethiopian embassy in Abu Dhabi, which demonstrates the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said that the two countries have enjoyed friendly relations, a close and strong alliance, and shared interest in the stability and security of the neighbouring countries.

Sheikh Abdullah said, "The volume of trade exchange, investment and the number of flights between the two countries, are deemed good indicators of the growth of relations." "I would like to thank Ethiopians residing here, over 62,000 of them, for their efforts and positive influence on the U.A.E.." On his part, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister thanked Sheikh Abdullah for attending the opening ceremony of the Embassy in Abu Dhabi, a move which he said reflects the depth of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He added that the opening of the Embassy in Abu Dhabi followed the opening of the consulate in Dubai in 2004. The move, he continued would boost the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Adhnaom noted that the relations between the two countries have been growing steadily in the areas of politics, economy, investment and trade.

The event was attended by Sheikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), Major General Faris Al Mazrouei, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Security and Military Affairs, Abdelqader Saleh, Ethiopian Ambassador to U.A.E. and a number of senior officials in both the countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


A graffiti for the record book planned for National Day

posted on 23/11/2014

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has ordered the prompt implementation of a new art and cultural project titled ‘Our Journey', marking the U.A.E.'s 43rd National Day celebrations.

Expected to enter the Guinness World Records as the world's longest graffiti, ‘Our Journey' is 2,180 metre long and will be executed by the Crown Prince Office in collaboration with the Government of Dubai Media Office initiative, Brand Dubai.

Resembling the U.A.E.'s map and seven emirates, Shaikh Hamdan directed that ‘Our Journey' should mirror glimpses of the U.A.E. history, starting from the beautiful past to the bright present and promising future.

The project responds to the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai an open air gallery that reflects the city's unique experiment and outstanding achievements.

Saif bin Markhan Al Ketbi, Director-General of the Office of the Crown Prince of Dubai, said: "Our Journey is an artistic documentation for the U.A.E.'s unity with a contemporary view. A host of the world's most renowned graffiti artists and most distinguished local artists will participate in the artwork.

"The event will take place near Jumeirah Beach Park on November 29 and 30. Availing this opportunity, we invite U.A.E. citizens, residents and visitors to join the U.A.E. National Day celebrations, and even participate in painting ‘Our Journey' under the supervision of qualified artists.”

Chairman of Organising Committee of ‘Our Journey' Ismail Al Hashemi said: "We expect about 150 artists to take part in completing the graffiti. Once completed, it is expected to enter the Guinness World Records as the world's longest graffiti. The team includes 100 of the world's finest graffiti artists, 30 Arab artists and 20 Emirati artists. Moreover, participation is open for public, especially students.”

Al Hashemi explained that various official organisations are working together to motivate their employees to participate in the project, and prizes will be awarded to the most beautiful works.

‘Our Journey' will consume over 7,000 eco-friendly paint spray containers. The organising committee will also host many cultural and recreational events starting from 10am to 5pm. The committee will also provide short training sessions on graffiti principles and safety procedures through the website Public may follow the event via @RehlatnaUAE. – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Burj Khalifa, the site for world's highest selfies

posted on 23/11/2014

Taking the selfie phenomenon to a new level, a 47-year-old British photographer captured an image of himself on top of Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world. To take the highest selfie, Gerald Donovan, who has lived in the U.A.E. for seven years, used a special panoramic camera controlled by an i-Phone app to click at a height of 830 metres.

Donovan, who has scaled almost every other skyscraper in Dubai, went atop the Burj Khalifa to put finishing touches to the Dubai 360 project. The project includes a virtual tour of the city and a 360-degree panoramic time-lapse.

"It's exhilarating, but quite a challenge. There is very little space up there to work in, especially when there are two of you and you are setting up multiple cameras. The one thing people always ask me is whether or not I suffer from vertigo. At the top of the Burj Khalifa, I don't, because I think it's too high for the brain to process,” He explained to Khaleej Times.

"The camera I used was a Ricoh Theta. It's a very small single-shot 360 degree panoramic camera that captures the entire spherical view around it. The camera and pole mostly disappear due to the way the Theta stitches its two images together.”

"I'm not usually one for selfies, in fact, I think this could well be the very first one I've ever shared,” the intrepid photographer told the UK media earlier. "However, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.” – Khaleej Times -§ion=nationgeneral


Etihad Airways extends Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title sponsorship

posted on 23/11/2014

Etihad Airways has extended its title sponsorship of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to become one of the longest title sponsors in F1 history. The airline has been the Title Sponsor of the Middle East's biggest sporting event since the inaugural race in 2009.

The partnership extension was finalised between James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, and Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group of companies, at the airline's Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Hogan said, "We are delighted to extend our title sponsorship of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and to continue our association with an event which showcases the airline and our home of Abu Dhabi to a global audience of more than 500 million people.

"The F1 event is now firmly established as one of the major highlights of the Formula 1 calendar, with Yas Marina Circuit as one of the world's most advanced sporting venues. We look forward to bringing hundreds of thousands of motorsport fans to the UAE's capital over the next seven years and beyond." The Etihad Airways Innovation Centre was chosen as the venue for the finalisation of the agreement as it's where the airline's latest in-flight cabins and products are researched and tested, underlining the synergies with Formula 1 .

Mr Ecclestone said, "We are happy to extend our relationship with Etihad Airways, one of the world's most innovative airlines, and an organisation which shares the same passion and commitment to cutting edge technology, team-work and precision engineering as we do in Formula 1.

"Etihad Airways has been one of the most forward-thinking Title Sponsors in Formula 1 history and to secure the airline's extension of its Title Sponsorship is fantastic news for the sport and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which has made such a huge impact on the F1 season." The exposure provided by the Formula 1 Title Sponsorship underpins the plans of Etihad Airways and its Abu Dhabi home base, whose strategy is to develop the UAE's capital into one of the world's leading economies, tourist destinations, and air transport hubs.

Abu Dhabi is currently home to many world-leading attractions, including the world's biggest indoor theme park, Ferrari World, and the Guggenheim Museum and the Louvre are both establishing facilities in Abu Dhabi.

Guests travelling on Etihad Airways flights can watch tomorrow's Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live inflight on the Sport 24 channel of the Live TV section.


U.A.E., UK officials discuss cooperation on border security, management

posted on 23/11/2014

Major General Obaid Moheir bin Suroor, Deputy Director-General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), and Mandie Campbell, Director-General of the Immigration Enforcement at the UK Home Office, discussed ways of bolstering cooperation on border control and management between the U.A.E. and UK at recent meeting in London.

The London meeting was the fourth and last leg of Bin Suroor's shuttle tour which took in Warsaw, Montreal and New York.

Bin Suroor and Campbell also discussed bilateral coordination on combating human trafficking and the exchange of expertise on detecting fake passports and travel documents.

The U.A.E. official said that the discussions in London also took in ways of tapping the UK's experience in organising London 2012 Olympic Games in order to use it for hosting the World Expo in Dubai in 2020, which is expected to attract some 25 million visitors, which he said poses a huge challenge for border security authorities.

Bin Suroor, who led a delegation of senior officers lauded the cooperation between the U.A.E. and the UK and noted increasing number of British tourists and workers in the U.A.E. and the growing number of the U.A.E. tourists and students in the UK.

During his tour, Bin Suroor participated in a meeting of the working group on border control and passenger facilitation of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a meeting of the member countries of the EDISON TD, a database system of travel documents. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


NMC hosts 95 media representatives from 54 countries for 43rd National Day celebrations

posted on 23/11/2014

The U.A.E. National Media Council (NMC) is hosting 95 representatives of the media from 54 countries on the occasion of the 43rd National Day in a comprehensive three-day programme that will include interviews with U.A.E. ministers and senior officials.

The programme is being run by the NMC under directives from H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC).

The programme also includes visits to national landmarks and institutions such as Masdar City, Burj Khalifa, the General Women's Union, Saadiyat Island as well as a train ride to explore landmarks in Dubai and attendance of the Emirati Media Forum which is being organised by the Dubai Press Club.

NMC's similar previous programmes highlighted the U.A.E.'s bid to host the World Expo in Dubai in 2020, sustainable development, energy, economy, health, education and foreign policy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM,


G20 Interfaith Summit reviews U.A.E.'s experience in religious freedom, tolerance and co-existence

posted on 23/11/2014

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, has affirmed the importance of resolutions of the G20 Interfaith Summit to solve problems facing the humanity through the religious dialogue as a way for co-operation to achieve happiness for all mankind.

Sheikh Nahyan underlined the significance of dialogue among religions and cultures, adding that the U.A.E. encourages dialogue to build communication bridges and understanding. "Dialogue will contribute to finding areas of common interest among followers of various religions and cultures, and will help strengthen proper relations among them." He also added that the U.A.E.'s multicultural society proves that it safeguards the freedom of belief and worship and provides an appropriate atmosphere for understanding, a policy that has facilitated cultural interactions and enhanced values such as religious freedom, peace, tolerance, coexistence and mutual respect.

Sheikh Nahyan added, "All these values were gleaned from the far-sighted vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and were instilled by the late founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. These were meant to deal with the multiplicity of human cultures and civilisations." The Minister thanked the organisers of the G20 Interfaith Summit in Australia, stressing that conferring of this prestigious award upon him by the global organisation is an international recognition of the U.A.E.'s efforts in building a distinct and distinguished society, open to other civilisations, and proves that it is a role model for peaceful coexistence among religions and cultures.

He added, "This also shows the U.A.E. follows a policy of development, welfare and achievement focus on happiness of the society", adding that this reflects the U.A.E.'s rich historic legacy when it comes to peaceful coexistence among religions.

He also added that this underscores the U.A.E.'s stature as being a hub of dialogue among various religions and cultures by providing wider horizons for interaction to shed light on common values among all religions, stressing that all the country's legislative, educational and cultural departments have worked towards enhancing dialogue and a culture of tolerance through freedom of thinking and belief, as well as acceptance of pluralism and rejection of violence, extremism and narrow-mindedness.

Sheikh Nahyan made these remarks as the U.A.E.'s participation came to a conclusion. The U.A.E. was represented by the Ministry of Culture's delegation at the Interfaith Summit held on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Australia.

In a related context, the U.A.E. delegation held a special session on the topic of the U.A.E. being a model for religious freedom, tolerance and peaceful religious coexistence.

The session also witnessed the participation of top church leaders in the U.A.E. and the Emirati thinker, Dr. Yousef Al-Hassan.

At the beginning of the session, Yousef al Hassan, former Director of the Emirates Institute of Diplomacy, gave a presentation on the public outline of the U.A.E. as a model for tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the light of its constitutional framework. He also briefed them on a host of previous practical experiences of the country in this regard such as setting up places of worship for non- Muslims.

Dr. Yousef demonstrated the U.A.E.'s experience in the field of development through being open to the other, stability in work and interactions, citing the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the field of humanitarian work in a number of countries regardless of their beliefs.

Surender Sing Kandhari, Chairman of the Gurunanak Darbar Temple in Jebel Ali, Dubai, thanked the U.A.E. leadership for granting Sikh a plot free of charge in Jebel Ali to build the Sikh Temple, adding that 50, 000 Sikh live in the U.A.E.. He called on the G20 Interfaith Summit to continue such dialogues, which promote co-existence, peace, stability and welfare.

Cameron Arensen, pastor of the Evangelical Community Church, briefed the Summit on experience of his sect in the U.A.E., citing tolerance, support and hospitality being exhibited by the U.A.E. leadership and people. He invited the audience to visit the U.A.E. to acquaint with a unique religious tolerance.

Reverend Andrew Thompson, the senior pastor at Abu Dhabi's St Andrew's Church, said, "I'm delighted to present the U.A.E. model, which represents an exemplary religious tolerance for Christians in the world", adding that the G20 Interfaith Summit has shown the U.A.E.'s best Islamic values in terms of generosity, hospitality and tolerance.

Dr. Robert Batman, head of the Mormon Sect spoke about his personal experience in the U.A.E. and the administrative and financial support he received from Emiratis, including police officer. He added that the religious leaders who attended the G20 Interfaith were briefed about the U.A.E.'s religious tolerance and co-existence, a model he said would be reciprocated by different countries and peoples.

Dr. Isaiah Haroon, representative of Coptic Church demonstrated the history of Coptic Church in the U.A.E. amid audience applause. The Coptic Church is the oldest Church on earth. The first Coptic sermon was held in Abu Dhabi in 1974, while the first Church was built in the Churches' complex in 1984. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan allocated a plot, where the first Coptic Cathedral in the Gulf was built and opened by Pope Shenoda III in 2007. The Copts are 20, 000 in the U.A.E., where they pray freely in seven Churches across the country.

Dr. Haroon spoke of humanitarian gestures of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, noting that without his unlimited support the Coptic Cathedral would not have been built.

The six papers were applauded by the audience, who commended the U.A.E. religious tolerance and co-existence, a model that exhibits the religious tolerance as a core of economic development, social stability and happiness. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


ADFD signs Dh110m deal with Madagascar

posted on 23/11/2014

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is set to extend Dh110 million in soft loans to the Republic of Madagascar for the construction of a 117km two-lane road and seven bridges that will connect key rural areas of the country. Confirming the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development's support, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, and Andriambololona Vonintsalama, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance and Budget in Republic of Madagascar.

Madagascar is home to more than 21 million people, and the new projects are anticipated to drive the country's tourism and agricultural sectors.

Completion of the coastal road between Soanierana Ivongo and Mananara will ensure the uninterrupted flow of agricultural produce to the markets, while reducing the transportation cost of goods.

The new asphalt road will also facilitate continued access to the towns throughout the year, regardless of the weather conditions. Notably, the two-lane highway will help reduce the isolation of rural areas.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said: "The government of Madagascar is extremely focused on the redevelopment of its core infrastructure as part of its priority to stimulate economic growth and lift its people out of poverty. Apart from facilitating the movement of goods and trade, such projects support the creation of jobs and social mobility.”

He added: "The eradication of poverty in developing countries is part of the Fund's core mandate. Financing roads and bridges reflects ADFD's commitment to supporting infrastructure projects that contribute to the development of economic sectors and the wellbeing of the people in developing nations. We believe this project will provide deep and lasting benefits to the people of Madagascar.”

Andriambololona Vonintsalama, Madagascar's Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, said: "We are grateful to the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for its unwavering commitment to the development of our nation and people.”

"Our government remains focused on the delivery of infrastructure and services that will elevate the nation and provide seamless opportunities for growth to our people. This project is another great example of what can be achieved through collaboration and shared vision for global progress,” she added.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has earlier financed a power project in Madagascar in 1979, with a funding of Dh15 million. The Andekaleka Hydroelectric Power project currently delivers 58MW of power to the local population.

Meanwhile a high-level government delegation from the Republic of Slovakia headed by Dusan Horniak, Ambassador to the U.A.E., visited the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to explore opportunities for further bilateral collaboration with the U.A.E..

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi welcomed the delegation and reiterated the U.A.E.'s support to Slovakia's development goals and efforts.

Lauding the Republic of Slovakia for its commitment to promote its synergy with the U.A.E., Al Suwaidi said: "The visit provided us valuable insights into the opportunities opening up in the Republic. Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is committed to collaborating on projects that help accelerate Slovakia's economic development on a priority basis. We are confident our engagement will meet the strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, while driving the economic and social development of the Slovak Republic.”

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) was established in 1971 as a leading national entity to provide development aid to emerging economies in the form of concessionary loans and administrative grants on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government.

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development also manages the government grants provided by the U.A.E. through direct supervision and follow-up of the implementation and operation of the projects. – The Gulf Today -


U.A.E. Ambassador to Serbia inspects U.A.E. residential Project

posted on 23/11/2014

Juma Rashid Saif Al Dhaheri, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia has inspected U.A.E. residential Project in Valjevo City, which is being rebuilt by the assistance from the U.A.E..

These houses were damaged in last June floods caused by unprecedented torrential rain.

Al Dhaheri was accompanied by Serbia's Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, Aleksandar Vulin and a UN official, was briefed on work progress in the area stressing the strong friendship relations between the two peoples and countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Nahyan attends Heritage Village functions at Yas Marina Circuit

posted on 23/11/2014

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, on Friday attended the functions organised at the Heritage Village on the sidelines of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

During his tour, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan viewed various activities, including the traditional oyster processing and handicrafts.

He also visited the stand of the General Women's Union where he was briefed on the efforts to promote the role played by Emirati women.

He also attended a performance of rebab, the traditional one-string and violin-like musical instrument, and viewed one of the old cars owned by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan.

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed also visited the stand of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, that highlighted efforts to showcase the emirate's tourist attractions and promote it as a major tourist destination in the region.

He lauded the organisation of the Heritage Village for the second year in a row and underscored the role of the wise leadership of the U.A.E. in preserving the national heritage. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -