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Mohammed bin Zayed receives students

posted on 12/12/2006

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces received in Abu Dhabi yesterday students of Al Dhibyaniah Model School for Girls who called to offer greetings on the national day anniversary.

Present during the meeting were Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Dr Hanif Hassan, Education Minister.

The students were accompanied by a delegation from the school's mothers council and the school principal Khawla Ahmed Al Suweidi, who won the 'Outstanding Arab Executive' category of the Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Arab Management. The students delivered patriotic poems praising the achievements made by the country's leadership.

Sheikh Mohammed talked to the students and parents about progress of the education and was briefed on the school's requirements. He urged the students to stick to the teachings of tolerant Islam and the country's traditions and values. He also encouraged them to put more effort on their education to serve their country in the best way.

Sheikh Mohammed congratulated Khawla Al Suweidi on her achievement and lauded the results made by the school in the educational zones awards. He said that the UAE leadership is keen on providing full support for improving educational standards in the country and for building enlightened and qualified generations. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Pakistani media pay tribute to UAE

posted on 06/12/2006

Islamabad - The Pakistani media have devoted a prime coverage to the UAE on the occasion of its 35th National Day celebrations. As much as 24 papers put out special editions in English, Urdu and other local languages, depicting the UAE's developmental accomplishments.

The "Dawn" praised the UAE for the marvellous achievements of the federation under the leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the outstanding economic performance.

The "Daily Jang" lauded the UAE high emphasis on maintaining high standards in education, health care, social welfare, and human resource development. "The News" reviewed the progress of bilateral relations between the UAE and Pakistan and praised the FNC elections as a boost to the parliamentary system.

"The Nation" highlighted the UAE foreign policy, economic growth, diversification of the sources of income, the rise in GDP, and encouragement of direct foreign investments. Other local language papers carried reports on the major political, social and economic developments since the creation of the UAE Federation. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE Embassies celebrate N-Day

posted on 06/12/2006

UAE embassies and consulates general in Sudan, Belgium, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and Turkey held receptions in celebration of the UAE 35th National Day Anniversary. Receptions were attended by ambassadors, members of the diplomatic missions of other countries and senior officials of hosting countries.

Impressive heritage and cultural activities and performances were given to mark the happy occasion. Felicitators praised the huge development the UAE is witnessing under the leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brethren Supreme Council Members and the Rulers of the emirates and expressed their best wishes for the UAE people. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE Embassies celebrate National Day in Washington, London

posted on 06/12/2006

Washington/London - The UAE Embassies in Washington and London have celebrated the 35the National Day anniversary. In a special ceremony, Saqr Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to Washington, received US government officials, heads of diplomatic missions and representatives of international agencies.

In a reception hosted by the embassy to mark the event, Issa Saleh Al Gurg, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Non-Resident to Ireland, said the UAE today occupies a prominent position in the world thanks to its wise leadership that promotes human values. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


National day celebrations

posted on 04/12/2006

A spectacular carnival marking the UAE's 35th National Day makes its way along the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. Children held a big poster featuring pictures of the Rulers of the emirates, symbolising the UAE Federation. Yesterday's carnival reflected the rich culture and heritage. (Gulf News)


UAE embassy celebrates Emirates' founding anniversary

posted on 04/12/2006

The UAE embassy in the Philippines celebrated Saturday the 35th founding anniversary of its country, with Ambassador Mohammed Ebrahim Abdullah Al-Jowaid citing strong bilateral relations between the two Asian states. The celebration was held at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila's grand ballroom in Makati City.

Ambassador Al-Jowaid said the strong ties between the UAE and the Philippines is anchored on their robust oil and non-oil trade, as well as the UAE's hosting of about 80,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Al-Jowaid, who recently received from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the Presidential Award of Distinction, said that OFWs in the UAE are most welcome to participate in the UAE's celebration of its founding on Dec. 2, 1971.

"Foreign workers in the UAE, OFWs included, benefit from liberal compensation and benefits in accordance with the enlightened pro-labour policies of the UAE government headed by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan," Al-Jowaid said. The UAE official noted that of the total number of OFWs hired by UAE companies and nationals in 2005, over 48,000 belonged to the re-hire category, while new hires were about 33,000.

"Based on the bigger number of re-hires, it means that OFWs who have worked in the UAE preferred to continue working in our country. We are indeed honoured because it speaks volume of how favourably OFWs view the UAE and its people," the ambassador said.

The UAE is the third biggest employer of OFWs, next only to Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. OFWs in the UAE collectively send the seventh highest amount of remittances to the Philippines, totalling US$257 million last year.

Al-Jowaid said that OFWs' preference for the UAE may be due to its fair labour laws, the warmness of its people, its openness and understanding of other cultures and its progressive government. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Another step forward for workers' rights

posted on 02/12/2006

As evolution of the labour market demands a new set of rules and regulations, work on modifying the labour law was the central focus of the Ministry of Labour this year.

Dr Ali Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Minister of Labour earlier said that a new law needs to be developed to keep pace with the progress in the country.

"Rules and regulations have to be flexible and the main bulk of the law will be set to regulate the relationship between the employer and the employee," said Al Ka'abi. A list of rules and regulations will be issued together with the law, which will explain the details for its implementation.

According to Dr Al Ka'abi, the new law includes regulations that will protect workers' rights.

With the expansion of the labour market, the need for a modified labour law had become pressing as the current law dates back to 1980.

Since 2004, labour protests have been frequently reported in local and international media and the situation worsened in 2005.

The chain of protests alarmed the officials in the country and made them more determined to tackle problems concerning workers' rights. This resulted not only in the introduction of the modified labour law but also a number of other initiatives.

In an effort to curb protests and secure the rights of workers, the Human Rights Department of the Dubai Police established the free hotline (8005005) in October 2005 to register labour complaints. The hotline is connected to the Dubai Police operations room and on receiving a labour complaint, a team from the Human Rights Department visits the scene and settles the issue.

According to the statistics issued by the Department, the team has received 219 complaints by June and by the end of April 2006, they had visited 89 companies, solved group complaints of 36,046 labourers and were able to settle dues amounting to Dh30.62 million.

Major Arif Baqer, acting director of the department, earlier said that when the hotline was initially launched it received 10 to 20 calls a day, but the calls had now declined to five to 10.

The Ministry of Labour has issued a decision stipulating a compulsory midday break for labourers working outdoors during the hottest time of the day in July and August, to protect them from heat exhaustions and heat stroke.

The midday break rule was first introduced in 2004, but the ministry was more stringent this year in enforcing penalties in the form of fines and stopping transactions of companies that failed to adhere to the rule.

A majority of the large companies now abide by the rule and most violating companies are small businesses, according to ministry officials who evaluate the overall experiment as successful.

According to studies conducted by Dubai government, the new weekend aligned the UAE's work week closely with the majority of other countries.

A cabinet decision issued in May stipulated a shift of the government sector weekend from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday, starting from September 1.

A senior official had earlier said that one of the main objectives of the shift is to create harmony between the public and private sectors.

While the Ministry of Labour issued a decision making the shift compulsory for all governmental bodies, it left it optional for the private sector. However, a majority of the companies in the private sector already had the Friday-Saturday weekend.

Many workers appreciate the new weekend as it enables them to spend more time with family and friends. (Gulf News)


N-Day reminder of unity of the willing: RAK Ruler

posted on 02/12/2006

H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah expressed today satisfaction over the achievements made by the UAE throughout the 35th years of its existence as one unified nation.

In his statement to Dira' Al Watan Arabic magazine on the occasion of the 35th. Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Saqr said "the occasion marks the unification of wills and the determination of UAE people to unify the seven emirates into a unified strong country under the wise stewardship of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." "Looking back into our recent past, we see that we have achieved the status of an advanced nation with high levels of education, health services and housing", he said.

Sheikh Saud seized the happy occasion to express cordial congratulations on the National Day to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE Progress will not stop or slow down: Umm al-Qaiwain Ruler

posted on 02/12/2006

For the third year in a row, we mark the UAE National Day without the presence of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE the Federation, remarked H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm al-Qaiwain.

In a statement to Dira' Al Watan Arabic magazine on the occasion of the 35th. Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Rashid paid tribute to 35 years of achievements and progress by the UAE since the establishment of the Federation which he said "is a residing reminder that the Late Sheikh Zayed will always be living among us." Sheikh Rashid added that "we do seek comfort in the stewardship of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who truly is a good successor to a good predecessor." He further stressed that UAE progressing march would not stop neither will it slow down, adding that the activation of the role of the Federal National Council by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the start of yet another march forward to realizing the ambitions of the UAE people. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Crown Princes and Deputy Rulers renew allegiance to UAE Federation and Leadership

posted on 02/12/2006

Crown princes and deputy rulers of all the seven emirates of the UAE seized the opportunity of the 35th Anniversary of the UAE National Day to renew their allegiance to the UAE leadership and their and reiterate their devoted support to the Federation and to reiterate their support to the historic decision made by President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in activating the role of the Federal National Council (FNC) through the election of half of its members by the local councils in each emirate.

In separate statements to the "Dira' Al Watan" Arabic Magazine to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the UAE National Day, they all expressed profound happiness on the occasion and wished the country and its people more progress and prosperity, hailing the plethora of successes achieved by the UAE throughout the 35 years of its existence as a nation.

They all congratulated H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and their brethren, Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates on the happy occasion.

Ajman Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi described 2nd December - the day in which the UAE federation was born - as "a conspicuous and blessed start of the history of the nation." Sheikh Ammar stressed that the Federation has achieved unprecedented stability and security and attained a unique location at the international arena.

He added that "despite those huge successes which the UAE has achieved in all areas in a volatile economic and financial international situation, the nation still has great ambitions to achieve more progress and prosperity under the stewardship of President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and this occasion would serve as a reminder to maintain the unity of our nation at a time when working in unison is much aspired to in many other nations." In Fujairah, the Fujairah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Saif Al Sharqi stressed that "the last 35 years have brought great achievements that saw the UAE and people moving from in accordance with a pioneering ideology and great plan by the founder of the federation march, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brethren, Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates." "Our country continues to witness progress and development until they covered every inch of this dear nation and every individual on this land, making our people to live in comfort and prosperity under our blessed federation", remarked Sheikh Hamad.

"Our country is capitalizing on, and is harvesting the fruits of, the unity which is achieved by the UAE great founder and wise leader the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had given all his life to his nation", he said.

"The people of the UAE stand on a solid ground and are determined to work with all strength and sincerity and to move forward on the same road to protect and maintain the achievements of the federation and to further achieve their objectives and aspirations by moving forward under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is a good successor for a good predecessor", remarked Sheikh Hamad.

For his part, Sheikh Hamad bin Saif Al Sharqi, Deputy Ruler of Fujairah said through the magazine that National Day marks the establishment of cooperation and hardworking to pave the way to a brighter future.

Crown Prince of Umm al-Qaiwain Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla gave assurances through his statement to the magazine that achievements in the coming years would be great so long as the people remain loyal and hardworking.

He said the UAE national day anniversary shows up this year to renews hope for a promising future through the activation of the Federal National Council which would be a booster to the Federation and the Shoura principle and to cooperation with the executive authority.

Sheikh Saud paid tribute to the wise and insightful stewardship of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and stressed that their directives have been implemented through developing work strategies for public authorities and granting executive authorities to ministries.

In his statement to the Magazine, Umm al-Qaiwain Deputy Ruler Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Mualla extended his congratulations to the UAE leadership and said "the 35th Anniversary of the UAE National Day is manifestation of a blessing granted by Allah to the UAE through unity and federation".

He paid tribute to the UAE Founder and Father, the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and credited to his leadership the deep impact on the process of establishing the Federation.

Sheikh Abdullah further renewed allegiance to the UAE leadership and Federation.

Ras Al Khaimah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi said through the magazine that "celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the UAE National Day is but a celebrating the conspicuous achievements of the Late Sheikh Zayed and his brethren Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates." Sheikh Saud stressed that one of the current fruits of the Federation is that fact that the educational system of the UAE currently has more than 2000 schools up from 37 and more than 12 universities up from zero. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE for extended peaceful cohabitation: Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed

posted on 02/12/2006

The UAE foreign policy has been firmly principled on transparency, dialogue, openness, peaceful cohabitation and good neighbourliness based on mutual respect for other states and non-interference in their internal affairs as well as the commitment to Arab, Islamic and international covenants and treaties and the promotion of regional and international peace, said UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In a statement to Dira' Al Watan Arabic magazine on the occasion of the 35th. Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Abdullah said "upon the establishment of the Federation (35 years ago), the UAE joined the Arab League and the United Nations Organization and established bilateral relations with Arab and foreign countries." "Based on a consistent theme of its foreign policy, the UAE continually seeks the extension of the range of its cooperation and friendly relations with the rest of the world", he added.

He noted that "The UAE maintains full diplomatic relations with 147 sates through 112 embassies currently hosted on its territories. 74 of the UAE-based embassies are resident and the other 38 are non-resident. It also hosts 61 consulates general and 9 bureaus of regional and international agencies and organizations".

"The UAE has 52 resident embassies and 44 non-resident embassies along with 8 consulates general and two permanent missions in New York and Geneva", he added.

Sheikh Abdullah seized the happy occasion to express his best wishes of "residing prosperity and security for the UAE under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Unique harmony between UAE people and leadership: Hamdan bin Rashid

posted on 02/12/2006

The 35th anniversary of the UAE National Day provides an opportunity for rational assessment of our nation-building process, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and Minister of Finance and Industry on the occasion of the 35th. Anniversary of the UAE national Day.

"A key factor in the success of the federation experience is this unique harmony between the UAE people and leadership. That harmony has been instrumental in the marvellous achievements scored so far in the economic, social and political arenas", said Sheikh Hamdan.

"Another cause of pride for us is the UAE citizens' high sense of duty toward their country and community, and their respect for the right of others and of the law", he remarked.

Sheikh Hamdan added that "a word of praise is also due to our prudent leadership, guided by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Country is committed to peace

posted on 02/12/2006

Since the establishment of the UAE federation in 1971, UAE foreign policy has been firmly principled on the deep-rooted certainties of mutual respect for other states, non-interference in their internal affairs as well as the commitment to Arab, Islamic and international covenants and treaties. UAE relations with other nations are based on the advancement of mutual interests, the cultivation of the spirit of co-operation and good neighbourly relations, and the resolution of disputes through dialogue, co-operation and peaceful means and the enhancement of international peace and security.

The UAE rejects all forms of terrorism, violence and extremism, and remains committed to all calls to peace that may spare the world needless tragedy.

The UAE's relations within the immediate region of the Arabian Gulf emanate from a firmly-held conviction that the six Gulf countries have common future and goals. Ever since the establishment of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in Abu Dhabi on May 25. 1981, UAE Gulf relations have been driven towards promoting closer ties with the other member countries with whom the UAE shares religion, history, language, culture and tribal and other affinities.

The UAE has been working closely with the other GCC member countries towards achieving Intra-GCC integration as well as coordinating GCC foreign policies, regional and international relations to the best interest of their peoples. Joint committees and meetings have been contributing to the development of the UAE bilateral relations with the other states of the Arabian Peninsula.

The UAE hosted the 26th summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Abu Dhabi on Dec.18-19, 2005. At the summit which was called "Fahd Summit" in honour of the late King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, the six GCC leaders convened the organisation's Supreme Council to review a host of issues including regional security, economic integration, education reform and other issues.

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 bring the dispute over the three islands only through direct negotiations with Iran and reference to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Support to Lebanon
Within the Arab context, the UAE offered unwavering support to the Lebanese people during and after the Israeli aggression earlier this year. Based on its commitment to resolutions of Arab Summits, including the recent Khartoum Summit, the UAE government reaffirmed its complete solidarity with Lebanon and called on the international community and the UN security council to put an end to the flagrant Israeli large-scale onslaught and gross violation of Lebanon's sovereignty.

Immediately after the onset of Israeli military operations against Lebanon, UAE donated 20 million dollars to UN Lebanon relief operations and launched air and sea emergency operations to dispatch hundreds of tons of food and medical relief supplies to the crisis-hit country through a humanitarian.
The UAE also launched the UAE Programme to Support and Rebuild Lebanon through which it implemented a large-scale project for the reconstruction of Lebanon's destroyed infrastructure in the wake of the military operations. The project rebuilt and renovated 115 schools in Southern Lebanon, dispersed funds to cover schooling costs for 400000 Lebanese students, installed 44 power generators in destroyed villages, rehabilitated damaged fishing wharfs and paid US$2 million in emergency aid to Lebanese fishermen and fishing boat owners.

Moreover, the UAE lent support to the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) which is carrying out a large-scale demining operation to clear mines, defuse and remove cluster bomblets and other types of unexploded munitions and duds in Southern Lebanon villages in the wake of the Israeli aggression earlier this year.

Sheikh Khalifa launched this year an initiative to clear Southern Lebanon of mines, cluster bomblets and blind bombs. Accordingly, the UAE Programme to Support and Rebuild Lebanon signed agreements with two British companies, to carry out a mine clearance operation along with the engineering personnel of the UAE Armed Forces.

Work now is underway to clear areas south of Littani River and along the Lebanese-Israeli borderline of unexploded ordnance.

This same 580 sq km. area was previously mine-cleared by the UAE Demining Programme "Tadhamun" an initiative launched in May 2004 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan with initial funds of 20 million USD to clear about 130000 mines strewn over tens of villages by Israeli forces during its occupation of Southern Lebanon. The UAE Armed Forces engineering units cleared and defused about 62000 mines and other types of duds.

The financial support which UNMACC has received from the UAE allows for the carrying out of a comprehensive six-month clearance campaign by fifty teams. The UAE financed in 2002 a similar mine clearance operation in Southern Lebanon by UNMACC which was established by the UN and Lebanese government upon Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.

The UAE incessantly reiterates its support for the Palestinian Cause and for a Palestinian state with Holy Jerusalem as its capital. It has been offering unstinting political and humanitarian support to the Palestinian people against the blatant aggressions and inhuman violations.

Based on its unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people who are reeling under the Israeli occupation, the UAE launched and financed reconstruction and charitable projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

Independent Iraq
Iraq has also been getting the UAE's unwavering support and help before, during and after three wars. The UAE has reiterated its support for a secure, independent and unified Iraq that exercises full sovereignty over all its territories and resources.

Emanating from its leadership's solidarity with Iraq at international circles, the UAE hosted the one-day preparatory meetings of the UN-backed International Compact for Iraq (ICI), a five-year plan to bring peace and development to violence-wrecked Iraq.

Hosting the ICI meetings which were concluded with the promulgation of Abu Dhabi Declaration on September 10th 2006 is further proof to the UAE's keenness to render support to Iraq and help it achieve all its national objectives and regain its normal position in the international arena.

Based on a consistent theme of its foreign policy, the UAE has voiced its full support for a co-ordinated Pan-Arab action towards Pan-Arab unity. In this context, the UAE leadership expressed, at the recent Khartoum Pan-Arab Summit on March 28 and 29 March this year, its keenness on achieving considerable progress in Arab countries to boost economic and social development plans to the best interest of Arab people to meet their political, economic, cultural and technical challenges. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE marks 35 years of prosperity

posted on 02/12/2006

The UAE is marking its 35th National Day on Dec. 2 on an upbeat note as it braces itself for a nation-wide parliamentary elections, which will be held from mid-December this year. Throughout 35 years of federation, the UAE may rightfully boast that it is the epitome of Arab unity.

In a speech on Dec.1 2005, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid homage to the founder of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and other Federation builders who had passed away.

He said cementing the federation and national tenacity requires enhancement of creative co-operation as currently exists between the federal and local authorities.

He pledged that the upcoming FNC's elections would be the beginning of more reformation that would ensure participation of citizens in the public national task.

"We shall present to the Federal National Council in its forthcoming round a proposal for revision of the UAE Constitution with the objective of reinvigorating its role and consolidating its jurisdictions to allow it cope with the requirements of the next phase..," the President noted.
Government strategies

Formed on Feb. 9, 2006 under the premiership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the new cabinet has ratified an overall strategy for the next phase in a bid to upgrade the governmental performance to international standards.

The strategy is designed to cover selective topics within key sectors, which enjoy priority at the federal level, including social development in such fields as health care, education, human resources, demographic structure and social welfare.

The economic development sector will endeavour to develop policies that should strengthen the national economy's competitive capabilities, while a federal policy will be developed to modify the infrastructure sector and bolster policies relating to environment, natural resources and water.
Council for Services

A ministerial council for services was set up under the chairmanship of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs. The 11-minister Council is tasked to effect the government's master policy, issue binding instructions, review progress reports by ministries and government institutions to ensure their compatibility with the policy.

The council is also assigned to follow up the enactment of laws and regulations and give instructions on issues referred to it by the President of the state, cabinet or prime minister, in addition to other tasks.
National Security

On June 13th, 2006, the President issued a law establishing the Supreme Council for National Security with the aim of maintaining the Federation's security and integrity.

With the President as its chair and Vice President its deputy chairman, the Council's membership comprises the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Defence, Foreign, Interior and Presidential Affairs Ministers, Chief of the State Security Organ, Chief of the Armed Forces' Staff and the National Security Advisor. Another Presidential decree was issued in October 2006 appointing Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as National Security Advisor reporting directly to the Chairman of the Supreme Council for National Security.
Economic development
The UAE has made remarkable progress in most of the social development indices. The UAE ranked forty first in the Human Development Index (HDI), according to UN Human Development Report for 2005, compared to its forty sixth position in 2004.

This progress was reflected in many aspects of development in the country, including rising per capita income, an increase in the government expenditure on education and health services, higher percentage of women's participation in the work force, lowest infant mortality rates and the elimination of dangerous diseases.

In the full conviction that the human being is the real wealth of the country, the leadership in the UAE has attached great importance to the development of human resources and providing social welfare to all categories of the society, especially the youth, vulnerable persons including handicapped and the elderly.

In addition, the UAE has been following a largely successful, stringent diversification economic strategy away from oil dependency in order to define itself as a regional and international trading hub.

Record oil revenues have lifted the UAE's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Dh 485 billion in 2005, up by 26.4 per cent over 2004, impacting positively on the balance of trade and creating a surplus in government's finances for the first time in 20 years, according to the Economic Performance Report 2005.
The report, released by UAE Ministry of economy in June 2006, mentioned that the share of the non-oil sector reached 64.3 per cent of the total GDP last year. It highlighted the significant role of foreign trade as it contributed 149 per cent to the UAE's GDP, which reflects an outward-oriented economy.

The report also anticipated commodity exports to increase by 21 per cent to hit Dh 514 billion, commodity imports to rise by 3 per cent to reach Dh 306 billion and UAE's GDP to hike to Dh 597 billion in 2006.
As for exports and imports, the state's volume of foreign trade in 2005 reached about Dh 720 billion compared with Dh 530 billion in 2004. The exports volume recorded about Dh 424 billion in 2005 after it was about Dh 304 billion in the previous year. Meanwhile the imports grew from Dh 226 billion in 2004 to Dh 297 billion in 2005.

It worthwhile to mention that the participation of Crude oil and petroleum exports constituted 47.7% of the total exports for the year 2005. Investment The UAE has become a centre of attraction to investors and businessmen from all over the world. The UNCTAD World Investment Report 2005 ranked the UAE in the 22nd position among the best economies in regard to attracting direct foreign investments (DFI).
Meanwhile, the Economic Performance Report 2005 of the Ministry of Economy showed that the UAE carried out investment projects worth Dh 93.7 billion last year. Investment ratio to GDP was 19.3 percent -- a percentage which reflects the country's due care and support for investment with the aim of maintaining the development driving force.

The private sector maintained its premier role in the investment sector achieving 50.9 percent of the total investment in 2005, against 34.7 percent for the public sector. Government investment accounted for 14.4 per cent.

The productive services sector carried out investment worth Dh 40.7 billion. Leader of the sector - transportation, storage and communications- emerged as the largest investor, pumping Dh 17.7 billion in 2005. The ultra-modern infrastructure of this sector has given the UAE a leading position in introduction of advanced technology.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the UAE in the first slot in the Arab World and 28th position worldwide in terms of preparedness for technology applications.

Investment ploughed by the real estate was in the tune of Dh 10.4 billion, reflecting the boom in this sector at the levels of the federal and local governments and the private sector.

With 7.9 percent of total investment, the government, social and private services pumped in Dh 7.4 billion. Most of the funds were allocated to complete basic services infrastructure in the educational, health, social and security sectors.

The federal budget for 2007 stood at 28.4 billion and maintained a zero deficit for the third running year. The budget lists both revenues and expenditure at Dh 28.425 billion, compared with Dh 27.878 billion in 2006.

The budget for 2007 focuses mainly on education which makes up Dh 7.1 billion or 33 per cent of the total budget. It is followed by security and justice, constituting 15.7 per cent at Dh 3.3 billion. Dh 1.5 billion has been allocated for health, representing 7.1 percent, while almost similar amounts are earmarked for social affairs, infrastructure (Dh 1.497 billion) and projects (Dh 1.1 billion or 5.2 percent).

In its last report issued in May 2006, The IMF praised the economic performance of the United Arab Emirates and its economic policy, especially, in exploiting the petroleum resources for promoting other economic sectors as well as developing human resources. The report described the financial policy in the state as a wise policy. It also commended the monetary policy with respect to the Supervisory control method over the monetary sector and the strength of banking sector and monetary authority method in the state regarding combating money laundering and finance of terrorism.

It also lauded the state's supporting the private sector, and activating its role in the national economy and relative legislations, by adopting the open economy policy and encouraging private investments which resulted into the national economic growth in high frequencies.
Foreign trade
The UAE is intensifying its efforts to strike economic and trade partnerships and free trade agreements with its strategic partners and major economic blocs around the world.

At the top of the UAE's list of strategic partnership priorities come Germany, France, South Korea and other European and Asian countries. Negotiations are currently underway with the US to conclude a free trade agreement with the world's economic giant.

The UAE is also engaged in collective talks between the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) on the one hand and each of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (comprising Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), China, Pakistan, India and Turkey on the other.
Such a policy is in harmony with a global trend towards forging strategic partnerships, liberalisation of trade and open markets since the volume of foreign trade is deemed an influential factor for the country's economy and an indicative of the economic strength.

The UAE's foreign trade with the outside world has made great stride in recent years. Figures indicate that foreign trade represents 149 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, with the country getting more engaged in the global economy, this is expected to gather more speed during the current year. Commodity exports are anticipated to top Dh 514 billion, growing by 21 per cent from 2005 with oil's share forming 40 per cent of these exports.

The commodity imports this year are set to surge by 3 per cent from last year to reach Dh306 billion.
Statistics further show that the trade balance surplus in 2005 has jumped to Dh 127 billion from around Dh 69 billion in 2004.

The Economy Ministry's data reveal that India is UAE's No.1 trade partner with non-oil exports to the South Asian country in 2004 reaching Dh 2.33 billion, that was 21.5 per cent of UAE's total exports that year. Imports from India in the same year touched Dh 26.70 billion, or 15.7 per cent of the total imports.
Iran ranked second in terms of UAE's exports totalling Dh 1.26 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia with Dh 693 million and China Dh 667 million.

China, however, is the UAE's second major trade partner in terms of imports which amounted to around Dh 20 billion, or 11.7 per cent, followed by Japan with Dh16 billion (9.8%) and US with Dh 14 billion (8.3%).

At the forefront of all trade talks emerge that with the USA, with whom the UAE seeks to reach a free trade agreement, which, if struck, will enable the UAE's economy to sustain its steady growth as the second largest in the Arab world, striving to become the largest of all economies in the region. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


A journey toward political reformation

posted on 02/12/2006

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has hailed the high standard the UAE Armed Forces has attained. In a statement to the Dira Al Watan magazine, the President said: "We pay special attention to our armed forces by providing it with all materials and logistics that can make it a modern force capable of safeguarding the country's achievements ... and we never hesitate to equip it with the latest in weaponry and defence systems."

Sheikh Khalifa said the armed forces had hoisted the UAE flag aloft in various parts of the world, showing a unique example to the globe in its endeavour to serve the mankind and provide security and peace to strife-torn nations and groups.

"Such an approach is testimony to our firm conviction that international peace and security must be based on justice, cooperation and tolerance.

"However, the role our armed forces play in this respect is under no circumstance separable from that being carried out by the police authorities in providing utmost degrees of security and stability to the citizens and residents alike.

"All this is done through their efforts to stave off all forms of crimes, combat drug problems and crimes novel to our society and deepen good citizenship concepts.

"We have, therefore, striven to establish a modern police force staffed with qualified personnel and equipped with the latest in technology," Sheikh Khalifa stressed. (Gulf News)


FNC elections usher UAE into enabling era (NATIONAL DAY'S REPORT)

posted on 02/12/2006

This year's celebrations of the UAE national day will be of special taste and flavour as the country is bracing for the first-ever parliamentary elections in its history set to take place on 16, 18 and 20 December.

The 35th anniversary of the national day will stand tall of all national celebrations and occasion of the federation as it will be followed by the landmark Federal National Council (FNC) elections. Starting December 16, half of the FNC members will be elected through an Electoral College of every emirate.

The other half will be appointed by Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates after the elections.

Half of the 40-member house will be elected by the 6,689 members of the Electoral College, including 1,189 women, aimed at enhancing its legislative powers and fostering an "election culture".

SHEIKH KHALIFA LAUNCHES ENABLING ERA: President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced, in his speech last year on the occasion of the federation's 34th national day, that half of the FNC members would be elected, ushering the country into what he termed as 'a new enabling era." 'Considering the developments in our region, which is now witnessing transformation and reforms, the years ahead in our blessed march require a bigger role for the Federal National Council by empowering it to be an authority that would provide great support and guidance for the executive arm of the government.

We shall work to make the Council more capable, more effective and more sensitive to the issues affecting the nation and the people. This would be done by ensuring a more participatory process and the entrenchment of "Shura" (consultations) policy, the President said.

'One of our key objectives in the next stage is to lay the groundwork for the emergence of a more active UAE citizen. It was necessary to increase the experience of the FNC, and to move it to a stage where it will be more representative, and will interact more closely with the rest of the country and with the affairs of its citizens,' The president said in a recent interview to the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.

'We aspire for a situation in which the values of participation and Shura (consultation) are accentuated so as to enable the Council to shoulder its responsibility as a legislative body that supports social changes, through representatives with an undisputed allegiance to their homeland who are committed to work for the benefits of the country and its political system,' Sheikh Khalifa added.

Elaborating on the elections process, the President indicated that the first stage will see citizens electing half of the members of the FNC via electoral colleges. The other half will be selected using the current mechanism which will be phased out gradually to reach a fully-elected council.

'The experiment is neither dictated by others nor imitated.

It is purely a national step, necessitated by national interests and priorities. As the UAE is an active player both regionally and internationally, it is natural that such national interests will, sometimes, be influenced by regional and international developments, Sheikh Khalifa underlined.

On the citizens' reaction to the move, Sheikh Khalifa said 'The reaction of our citizens has been great - even from those who expressed some reservations. As everybody has seen in the media, all men and women of the UAE welcomed the move. At the end of the day, we are working to promote a culture that is based on a multiplicity of views and on accepting others' opinions.

'We do not consider parliamentary elections as the sole element of a democratic system. Democracy consists of a package of practices that include, in addition to electing FNC members, freedom of speech, and enacting laws that guarantee all political, social and intellectual human rights. We have started to lay the foundations of this process and have issued and modified relevant regulatory laws.

'We hope the FNC, in cooperation with the executive authority, would be able to formulate regulations that are capable of creating a healthy climate for popular participation and of promoting a culture of democracy that respects the rights of citizens and gives them freedom of speech to express their views.

'We also hope that it will put on the top of its agenda ideas that will enhance our steps towards promoting democracy, reform, empowerment of women and youth and advancing the comprehensive development process so that it may achieve its human goals, as well as to advance the development of educational, health, training and other systems which are directly linked to the security and welfare of citizens.

Opening new horizons for parliamentary life The upcoming Federal National Council (FNC) polls aim at electing "a strong" house that discusses national issues with transparency and embodies the values of public participation, General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said.

The elections are the first step towards full elections, and an important one towards enabling UAE nationals to select their representatives, he told Al Ittihad Arabic daily. He described the election process as "the cornerstone of democracy and legitimacy", adding that the FNC elections will open up new horizons for parliamentary life in the UAE.

"It is a step initiated by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his 2005 National Day speech, out of his keenness to activate the role of the FNC in supporting the executive authority, and achieve prosperity and progress through enabling public participation in decision-making.
WOMEN'S ROLE The National Election Committee (NEC) has approved 6,689 Electoral College members including 1,189 women from the seven emirates.

Women account for 18 per cent of the Electoral College members across the UAE, which shows the country's interest in their political role, Dr Gargash said.

"Women are being encouraged to play a strong role in this election.

UAE women have been an essential part of the economic, social, and cultural advancement of this country, and the nomination of 1,189 women is evidence of their importance. We hope a number of them will win a seat to the FNC," Dr Gargash said.

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan named Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi as minister of economy as a first step towards a larger role for women in their country's future.

Of course, women will build on Sheikh Lubna's success and take advantage of the prevailing political momentum to make their presence felt at the FNC.

Sheikh Khalifa told the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq Awsat that :'Women's participation in the electoral process is complimentary to their existing role in public affairs which has seen them achieve real participation and to rise to various levels of responsibility, including membership of the Cabinet.

Having achieved all this success, the UAE women will now achieve more success in the FNC by focusing on social issues, particularly those related to the rights of women and the family. We have full confidence in UAE women and we expect them to participate pro-actively in the elections, both as candidates and voters.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: The UAE National Election Committee (NEC) has approved 6689 Electoral College (EC) members - including 1189 women - from the seven emirates.

The Electoral College includes 1759 members from Abu Dhabi, 1539 from Dubai, 1041 from Sharjah, 441 from Ajman, 407 from Umm Al Qaiwain, 1084 from Ras Al Khaimah, and 418 from Fujairah.

Each emirate is allowed to nominate at least 100 times as many Electoral College members as its number of FNC representatives. The Electoral College of every emirate will in turn be responsible for electing half the members of the 40-member FNC.

Electoral College members can contest the FNC seats allocated to their emirate, provided they are qualified for the position as specified in the UAE Constitution. All candidates should be UAE citizens, permanent residents of the emirate they wish to represent in the FNC, 25 years of age or older, literate, and should have a strong and clean reputation with no criminal record.

Under the election regulations, a voter has only one vote and cannot cast his ballot more than once and may not authorise another person to vote by proxy. Campaign must not instigate religious, tribal or racial fanaticism. Under the by-law which includes 68 articles, candidates may present their manifestos in various media.

Each emirate is allowed to nominate at least 100 times as many Electoral College members as its number of the Federal National Council (FNC) representatives. Each emirate sub-committee comprises five members, led by a representative of the Ruler's Court, and including representatives from the police and municipality.

The sub-committees are responsible for providing permanent offices in their emirate and securing the human resources and technical capacity required.

The sub-committees will also be the communications channel between the National Election Committee (NEC) and members of the Electoral College. They will also have the final Electoral College list, notify members of any new information, and manage all the logistical aspects of the elections.

Recently the final list of candidates for the Federal National Council (FNC) elections has been approved by the National Elections Committee (NEC).

No appeals were registered at the end of the appeal period and there will now be 456 candidates in the fray for the elections to be held on December 16, 18 and 20, this year. The final list will be ready on December 9, the last date for withdrawal of nominations.

The nominees from each emirate are: Abu Dhabi - 100, Dubai- 82, Sharjah -101, Ras Al Khaimah - 83, Ajman - 24, Umm Al Qaiwain - 29, and Fujairah - 37.

The primary list includes a significant number of women nominees too, a trend that highlights the interest of UAE national women to politically participate and support the development of the country. Women nominees emirate-wise are: Abu Dhabi -14, Dubai -15, Sharjah - 29, Ras Al Khaimah - 3, Ajman - 2, Umm Al Qaiwain - 1 and Fujairah - 1.

The NEC has asserted the importance of abiding with the time line and executive directives set by the committee for the election campaigns. The directives are available in the booklets distributed to Electoral College (EC) members and are also published on the NEC website, The EC members and candidates can also get in touch with the NEC call centre dedicated to answer any enquiries regarding the election process.

THREE-PHASE PROCESS: Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, stressed that the elections were only the first step "in the development of our political institutions". "These elections show our strategy for the future," said Dr Gargash.

"Our political programme is all inclusive and we won't stop here.

We will reach full elections." In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Dr Gargash explained that despite the troubling times witnessed currently in the region, which calls for caution, the UAE has decided to move forward with landmark reforms to give the people a greater role in the political process.

The three-phase process will be conducted gradually while maintaining stability and economic viability.

The ultimate aim, he explained, is to have a much more enabled, stronger and bigger Council.

The elections are part of a general effort of modernising the country. It is aimed at enhancing political participation and enabling the members of the Federal National Council (FNC) to play a bigger role in the development of the country. I see the election of half of the FNC members as a natural progression of the UAE.

Greater political participation will be conducted in a gradual process. This gradual approach that we have adopted stems from realistic appraisal of regional uncertainty in the area that we live in.

We don't have an electoral legacy and we need to develop our political institutions in a measured way, and we will build on this first step in the years to come.

On the timetable for this process, he added :' It is three distinct phases as outlined in President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan's December 2005 speech. In the first stage, we will see the election of half of the FNC members through the Electoral College. This will be followed by the second phase in which we will look into expanding the powers of FNC members and the enlargement of the Council. At the end of the second phase, the FNC will be a more powerful body and its membership will be expanded.

The second phase of the development is the most important part of the project since it will deal with the powers of the FNC members and their relations with the government. It will be a more complicated one. We have to reach a feasible and credible equilibrium for the UAE so that the FNC fits into our political system. The relation between the FNC and the government is an important issue and that is why the National Election Committee (NEC) will oversee the whole process.

As to why is phase two complicated, he said: 'We recognise that a more effective FNC will require several mechanisms. Firstly, the FNC members should win a seat through election. Secondly, the FNC as a body needs more powers and that is why we need to review what powers it has at the moment and what power it needs in order to play a greater role. This is more complicated because it requires constitutional studies and clauses.

This takes us to phase three: what do you have in mind for it? I think phase three will be an open election for half the council.

When we move to phase three we will have finished and assessed phase two. The type of Council you will get in phase three is a much more enabled and stronger Council. It will also be a larger Council with more specific powers, with more specific areas of responsibility. So in phase three we will have a different FNC, probably a different mechanism.

We will have direct elections for half the Council and the other half will be appointed. The Council will be much larger. It will definitely have a bigger role.

MEDIA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: The Cabinet allocated Dh16 million to be added to the general budget to support electoral process.

The National Election Committee has launched an awareness campaign with the help of local media outlets to educate voters about the Federal National Council elections.

The radio campaign comes as part of a series of National Election Committee (NEC) initiatives to educate the public on the first ever UAE parliamentary elections. The initiatives have been covered in both Arabic and English newspapers through advertisements and news materials. A TV advertisement on local channels has also been launched. Seminars in universities and institutes across the country were also held.

The NEC is stepping up its efforts to spread awareness on the election process, rules and regulations. It is working closely with EC members to ensure that the UAE's first-ever election is a successful one.

POLLS DATES FOR EACH EMIRATES: The National Election Committee (NEC) said the Federal National Council (FNC) elections will take place on three designated dates in December.
The elections will start on December 16th in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. The electorate in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah will cast their votes on December 18, while polling will be held in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Qaiwain on December 20.

The NEC took into consideration the geographic, demographic, and logistical elements of the Electoral College lists when deciding these dates.

E-VOTING: The NEC will use e-voting in the forthcoming elections and will make sure it is user friendly and to maintain security of the system and privacy of the electorate. Dr Anwar Gargash said the FNC elections would make the UAE the first Arab country to introduce electronic voting (e-voting).

"The system is designed for the voter to vote and leave the polling station in five to seven minutes, or up to ten minutes at peak hours," he said, adding that demonstration screens will also be available. Asked about the credibility of electronic elections and security involved in conducting them, he said that e-voting was more precise.

"The technology used in e-voting is studied and [trusted]. It is the technology that is used everywhere," he said. He said the elections centre will be monitored and each voter will receive a printout confirming who he or she voted for.

With the aid of technology Electronic voting is the selection of candidates using information technology, instead of filling out the traditional forms and depositing them in ballot boxes.

The results are then stored in highly protected computers to ensure transparency, accuracy and security.

According to the National Election Committee, e-voting is an essential element of e-elections, where IT is utilised at stages including the registration of nominees and voters, verification of voter identity, and electronic separation and counting of votes. It is hoped that the system will be user-friendly and maintain security, as well as privacy for the electorate.

This technology will be used in the identification and verification of voters, the voting process and the separation and counting of the votes. Voting will be electronic, enabling the electorate to elect candidates on the electronic screen. A print out will then be taken and placed in a special box.

The votes will be counted electronically, but in the case of any objection to the results, the election committee can refer to the box. The poll will be held over three days from 8am to 7pm or until all voters cast their ballots. If the vote is tied, there will be a re-election for that seat. If, however, the vote is tied again, lots will be drawn to declare a winner.

As part of its preparations for the big day, the NEC's Election Management Committee (EMC) held a voting centre simulation at the Abu Dhabi Municipality premises on November 29 to train and develop the skills of staff members and volunteers working in voting centres on the Election Day.

More than 1000 male and female students from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) tried the seven minute voting process in its different stages. The process included checking identification, e-voting, printing out voters choice of candidate and dropping the list into the ballot box as part of the EMC's intention to ensure that all necessary safeguard are in place for a smooth and fair election.

The simulation was attended by Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council (FNC) Affairs and Head of the National Election Council (NEC), Ahmed Alhumairi, Secretary General of the ministry of presidential affairs, Faraj Bin Hammoudah, NEC member, Tariq Hilal Lootah, Secretary-General of FNC Affairs Ministry, Member of the NEC and head of the EMC, and Dr. Saeed Al Ghafli, Assistant Secretary-General of the FNC Affairs Ministry and Emirates Subcommittees coordinator.

Lootah said: "We are delighted with the great interest and participation from the HCT students in trying the e-voting system for the upcoming FNC elections. The upcoming elections are the right step forward towards gradually empowering the FNC. The process will encourage the emergence of a new generation of young leaders and will, for the first time, witness the representation of women in the FNC. These representatives will bring new energy and commitment to the work of the FNC.

"The participation of the students in this activity is an important part of our work to introduce an election culture in the country.

The voting centre simulation witnessed great participation and interest from student and great discipline and enthusiasm from volunteers and staff members in the voting centre." Established by presidential decree in December 2005, the National Elections Committee is assigned to supervise the upcoming elections scheduled to take place on December 16, 18, and 20 of 2006.

With the first elections in the UAE a fortnight away from now, it is useful to wind up this report by publishing the timetable for polls.

Timetable: FNC polls November 19 to 22- Registration of candidates 23 to 24 -Announcement of primary candidates list 25 to 26 -Challenges against candidates 27 to 28- Committee replies to challenges 30 - Announcement of final candidates list December 1 to 14- Campaigning 9- Deadline for withdrawal from elections 9- Deadline for submitting proxy candidates 16- First day of polling - Abu Dhabi, Fujairah 16 -Primary tally of votes 17 -to 18 Challenges against vote count 18 -Second day of polling - Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah 18 -Primary tally of votes 19 to 20 -Challenges against vote count 20- Third day of polling - Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain 20 -Primary tally of votes 21 to 22- Challenges against vote count 23- Replies to challenges submitted 24 -Final election results 25- First re-election 26 to 27- Challenges against re-election 27 -Second re-election 28 to 29- Challenges to re-election 30- Replies to challenges 30- Final results of re-elections.


Mohammed bin Rashid: We hold our heads high

posted on 02/12/2006

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai has affirmed UAE's adherence to its values and principles, hailing the achievements made since the creation of federation.

In a statement published by the Dira' Al Watan (Nation's Shield) Arabic magazine to mark the 35th anniversary of the National Day, Sheikh Mohammed said that building UAE citizen has been and will continue to be the top priority of the country's policy.

Following is the full text of the statement: "As we celebrate today the 25th anniversary of our auspicious federation, we take pride in the UAE which has become a modern and progressive state and in our leaders who confronted all challenges and instilled in us determination and persistence to guarantee bright and prosperous future to the children of this country.

We renew our pledge to the people of the country that the UAE will continue to adhere to its principles and values under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. We, the members of Supreme Council, also vow to continue joining hands to boost the federation march for the good and the benefit of the country and its people.

Our faith in the country's wise leadership and loyal citizens motivates us to achieve our goals. We are blessed with security, prosperity and achievements which are fruits of this auspicious federation.

Since the inception of federation in December 2, 1971, Our options were clear and despite all challenges, our country never budged from its principles to become a shining example of unity.

The UAE citizen has been and will always be the prime target for development given that it is the nation's real wealth. Our goal is to build a citizen armed with knowledge and capable of harnessing all means of progress.

Thanks to that approach, our country is currently witnessing an industrial boom and unprecedented economic growth that led to boosting national economy, diversifying sources of income, creating new job opportunities to the citizens and residents and attracting foreign investments and technology.

Parallel to this, the UAE managed to turn the arid desert into a lush green garden.

The federation march has become an example other countries seek to follow. The country has been able to provide all basic services including quality education, healthcare, social security, housing and infrastructure.

Our pioneering experiment of parliamentary elections. contested by both men and women, to select half of the Federal National Council members, is a natural outcome of a community that is free from political disputes. It is an initiative offered by a dynamic leadership to its trust-worthy people who are capable of adapting to change.

In keeping with its principles, the UAE is keen to maintain foreign relations with Arab and Islamic brethren and with the whole world, on the basis of good neighbourliness, respect of international legitimacy and support to the just causes everywhere.

This has policy has earned us respect of the world and elevated our country to a higher esteem in appreciation of its moderate approach and vital role.

In this, we renew our support to our brothers in Iraq and hope that peace will prevail in that brotherly country. We also call on all national and political parties to stop bloodshed, to reject violence and to adopt a peaceful dialogue to end this crisis. The UAE will always support efforts aimed at achieving Iraqi people's hopes and aspirations in regaining security and stability.

We also reiterate our support and firm stand by the Palestinian people in their quest to reclaim their legitimate rights and to establish their independent state. We call on the international community to compel Israel into respecting 4th Geneva Convention, international laws and relevant international legitimacy resolutions and to press it by all possible means to stop its aggression against Palestinian people. We also reiterate our support to the Lebanese people and our keenness to see Lebanon back to calm and stability.

The UAE adopts a firm stand against international terrorism as it rejects and condemns policy in national, regional and international arenas, based on its ethical principles that reject all forms of violence and terrorism which contradict with the teachings of tolerant Islam, our Arab traditions international laws.

In this occasion, we must remember with gratitude those who left us. they are the source of our pride as they laid the foundation of federation. They acted like a one hand to bring about federation.

We must remember the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father who played the major role in this achievement beside his brother the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and their brothers the Rulers of the Emirates. I would also like to pay a tribute to my brother the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was entrusted with leading this government since the creation of UAE.

We pray to Allah Almighty to bless their souls, to protect the people of the UAE and to provide our leadership with strength for the benefit of the country and its people." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE people before big responsibility: Sharjah Ruler

posted on 02/12/2006

H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, affirmed that the UAE leaders and people had pledged to forge ahead with their unique experiment to attain more achievements and gains.

Sheikh commended the constructive steps taken by President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to entrench representative democracy in a new form which based on free elections to empower the FNC to play its role adequately in national development.

'The UAE people are before a big responsibility...

they are demanded to have a better understanding and conscious realization of the concept of democracy, comprehend its consequences and applications which will push the development of the society wheel ahead and elevate its members on sound bases to have another genuine experiment which fits that of the federation,' Sheikh Sultan added. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE one of history's most successful nation-building stories: Ajman Ruler

posted on 02/12/2006

The last three decades marked a glorious era in the UAE history, said H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council member and Ruler of Ajman.

In a statement to Dira' Al Watan Arabic magazine on the occasion of the 35th. Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Humaid said: "Under the fine leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has evolved into one of history's most successful nation-building stories." "With that same spirit, we shall continue the process under the leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to whom we all owe allegiance," he added.

Sheikh Humaid stressed that 'this year's celebrations come as we are poised to add another pillar to the nation building exercise.

He praised The FNC elections as "a fresh testimony of our commitment to the principles of Shoura. These new developments build on a long tradition of open door policies and involvement of citizens in national responsibilities at all levels.

"The FNC elections will contribute significantly to the democratization process", he added.

"The UAE Federation will always stand out as a unique achievement that saw the country rise to prominence in little over three decades and come to the world forefront as a highly civilized and advanced state", he remarked.

"The UAE successful experience was based on the pillars of justice, and active contribution of citizens and institutions in development", he remarked.

Sheikh Humaid further stressed that "coordination among the members of the Federation has significantly contributed to the success of the Federation express." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


UAE sees new achievements each year: Fujairah Ruler

posted on 02/12/2006

The historical achievements of the UAE during its glorious path do speak for themselves.

Yet, the proclamation of the UAE federation stands out as the most important landmark in the history of the nation, said H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah.

In a statement to "Dira' Al Watan" Arabic magazine on the 35th.

Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Hamad said "each year brings along new achievements that add more bricks to the foundation laid down by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which facilitated the miraculous transformation of our nation into a modern state." Sheikh Hamad praised "the impressive legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed" which "will be maintained by his successor President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers, Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates." "I take the opportunity of this glorious occasion to extend my warm congratulations to President H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers , Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the emirates. We have every reason to take pride in the achievements that have been made during the last 35 years of our federation", he added.

"The best tribute that should be paid to the late Sheikh Zayed would be to continue with his spirit of patriotism, dedication and self-denial. He was a unique personality whose concerns stretched beyond the UAE", he remarked.

"The astounding progress that have been made by the UAE in various spheres stand as testimony to the wisdom of Sheikh Zayed. The fact that UAE has carved it self a conspicuous place amongst the comity of nations is a clear evidence that unity is power", Sheikh Hamad said. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Next five years will witness major changes: Promises Sheikh Mohammed

posted on 02/12/2006

General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said the next five years will witness "major changes and positive transformation" in a bid to prop up the federal institutions.

In a statement to the "Dira' Al Watan" magazine marking the 35th National Day of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed said: "We are determined to be an active part and element in this new age, taking advantage of its pros and avoiding its cons. We in the UAE are fully aware of what our region and the world around us are going through in terms of transformations and reformations." He said President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's plan to consolidate the role of the Federal National Council (FNC) and political participation would "help cement the Federation's position locally, regionally and globally and enrich our democratic experience." "We have faith in the UAE woman and her capabilities and potentials and are expecting much from her as far as the national action is concerned. I would thus take this opportunity to urge her to have her presence in the forthcoming elections, as a candidate and voter, felt in such a powerful and influential way," he stressed.

Sheikh Mohammed said the FNC would have a good chance in the upcoming stage to address issues of concern to the public opinion in a spirit of transparency, credibility and universality.

He urged the private sector to play what he touted as "a role commensurate with the encouragement and care it receives from the government." He said the UAE Armed Forces had made great strides in the direction of development and modification of its defensive capabilities.

"An advanced internal security umbrella has now been provided that has had positive impact on the Emirates as a security, safety and stability haven," he elucidated. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


We are looking with high esteem and pride at UAE people: Sultan bin Zayed

posted on 02/12/2006

Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, affirmed that present reality of comprehensive sustainable development in the UAE is firm enough to address rapid challenges of modern times and keep in touch with its fast developments.

'In this crucial stage, we are looking with high esteem and pride at our people while they are racing to participate actively in the electoral process and exercise their suffrage,' said Sheikh Sultan.

He noted that the UAE was celebrating its 35th national day with a blessing departure for the enabling era spearheaded by President Sheikh Khalifa. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Phenomenal achievements in all aspects of life: Hamdan bin Zayed

posted on 02/12/2006

The UAE leadership's keenness on strengthening unity has contributed significantly to the attainment of high levels of sustainable development, said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister.

In his statement to Dira' Al Watan Arabic magazine on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the UAE National Day, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed said: "we note with satisfaction that our economy has made a record growth of 26% in the year 2004-2005." "To cope with new developments, both domestic and international, our leaders have unleashed a host of measures including revision of legislations, upgrade of economic and social set up, and laying more emphasis on strategic planning", he added.

"These measures have already begun to pay dividends, with the UAE acquiring a leading position among regional and international economic powers," he added.

"As we celebrate the 35th. anniversary of the creation of the UAE Federation, we recall with great pride the phenomenal achievements in all aspects of life", he noted.

Sheikh Hamdan stressed that "these accomplishments could not have been possible without the foresight vision of our legendary leaders, the late Sheikh Zayed bin sultan Al Nahyan, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and their brothers the Rulers of the Emirates, who took the historic decision that paved the way for the creation of the UAE Federation." "By doing so, they have laid the foundation for the renaissance we are enjoying today", he added.

"Blessed with the foresight of our leadership, and the dedication and loyalty of our citizens, the UAE will confidently continue its march to new frontiers of success", concluded Sheikh Hamdan. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


Aspirations of young nationals

posted on 02/12/2006

As the UAE celebrates 35 years of the federation, young citizens speak about their home and culture. They recognise the hard work of previous generations and look to the future of a country that is united by optimism

"Dubai will definitely be a trademark name, and everyone around the world will know that we exist and where we are located on the map, which will hopefully allow us to have a stronger identity. We should be proud of who we are and where we come from, and we should not be influenced by all the different cultures surrounding us. It is important for nationals to join hands together in building a better way of life for the next generation, and to keep working hard in not letting our values and traditions disappear with time.

I hope to make my contribution to society by making a documentary film about the UAE, so I can show the world what we are about and how rich we are in terms of culture and tradition." Najla Al Ansari, 17

"I think that we will reach a point in time where we would be on the same level of infrastructure and fame as the cities of London and New York, and since the rate of development is remarkably high, I believe we might reach that point sooner than we expect.

In our increasingly growing country, we are accepting many people from different nationalities, and I think that we can benefit from it by exposing ourselves further to the different cultures and to understand the way expatriates think."
Asma Ahli, 21
"Each emirate will further its development and standard of living for its citizens, so that everyone will have the opportunity to live in a comfortable lifestyle. We should learn how to become carefree as our parents were in the time of their youth, because we have now made ourselves accustomed to material possessions."
Ayoub Omar Khatib, 19
"In a multicultural city, it is necessary to understand and communicate with others. UAE nationals should be encouraged to enter the private sector and have the responsibility of managerial positions because there's always a certain extent that expatriates do not understand about our culture.

This is our country, and we should have the means to develop it in which we see fit. I can see mistakes happening around me caused as a result of all the different kinds of people living here, and I want to be involved in rectifying them.

We have received free health care, education and housing, and now it is our turn to give back our contribution to the country."
Talal Al Ansari, 24 Abu Dhabi - Gulf News


At home in the UAE

posted on 02/12/2006

Endless sunshine, weekends spent lying on the beaches, diving or camping in the desert - it is no wonder that Westerners love living in the UAE. The sun-drenched lifestyle here is a welcome change from the cold and rain many of them have gratefully left behind.

Another element many Western expatriates appreciate is the extent to which the countless nationalities and races get along with each other which, like the weather, sometimes offers a stark contrast to their own tension-ridden countries.

Nick Dutt, 46, a British businessman who has lived in the UAE for eight years, speaks for many when he says: "The appeal of living here is the ability of the many cultures to work together in the peaceful and secure environment that the government has created.

"It makes you very comfortable and it is a pleasant place in which to live and bring up children."

High-quality schools
Dutt says the high-quality schools in Dubai are a major draw for parents like him, adding that most of them offer a superior learning environment compared to those in his native United Kingdom.

"In terms of mainstream schools, they are a lot better than those at home. The children get more personal attention here and, in general, children are more successful in school here compared to in the UK," he says.

Good infrastructure
Golf course designer Peter Harradine, 61, from Switzerland, a resident of the UAE for the past 30 years, says he enjoys the climate and the "good infrastructure" of the country.

He adds: "There is a huge choice of things to do in the evening with very varied entertainment.

"It's also a great spot to bring people for meetings. It's a freewheeling place, so it sounds good to say: 'Come and meet me in Dubai.'"

British public relations executive Lucy Wray, 35, who has lived in the UAE for a year and a half, says she likes the fact that - despite the traffic - Dubai is much less crowded than London, where she used to live.

"You can get into nice restaurants really easily here - there isn't the same pressure and queues that you have in England. You can just walk in - even if it's somewhere really attractive beside the Creek - and that makes it much more relaxing," she says.

The weekend leisure activities also appeal to Wray, who often goes snorkelling on the east coast near Fujairah.

"It's as though you are on holiday a lot of the time. There are lots of beaches. The lifestyle is great," she says.

Although the sunny weather of the UAE is nothing new to journalist Ruth Edwards from South Africa, in many other areas Dubai scores well compared to her home country.

"Personal security is very good here - that's a major consideration. And I do enjoy the multicultural mix here. There is no tension or acrimony between the races," she says.

Many expatriate families regard the UAE as their second home as they spend a large part of their lives here. For Hasnul Mohammad Yunus and his wife Nooraini Ismail, from Malaysia, the UAE is the country where three of their five children were born.

"We have never lived in Malaysia as a family. The UAE is the only country our family knows as home," says Hasnul.

"Our children go home for a week and ask when they can return to the UAE," says Nooraini. "When we came here, we thought we would stay for two years at the most. But eight years on, we are still here," she adds.

The Malaysian community here is small, with just 2,400 people registered with the embassy.

The couple say that living here has helped strengthen their marriage.

"He's from Kuala Lumpur (in central Malaysia) while I'm from (the north). Living away from Malaysia solves any arguments we might have about where to live (there)," jokes Nooraini.

Better understanding of Islam
She adds that another thing she loves about the UAE is how it has helped her gain a better understanding of Islam. "In Malaysia, we get used to only one way of seeing Islam. Here, we get to learn about other perspectives in Islam," she says.

Keeping in touch with their heritage is not a problem for the Tignos, a Filipino family that has been in the UAE for 17 years. Filipinos are one of the largest communities in the UAE with more than 230,000 people.

"Living here is like living at home in the Philippines," says Dr. Rosario Tigno, who is the first Filipino doctor licensed to work in the UAE. She came here to join her husband, Rogelio Tigno, a mechanical engineer. Her three children grew up in the UAE.

"Growing up here has made them strong, flexible, diplomatic and patient," she says.

The UAE is also special to the Tignos as the couple celebrated their silver anniversary here and renewed their commitment to each other.

"We got married in Iran and we renewed our vows in the UAE. That's pretty special," she says. (Gulf News)