United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been buried after his sudden death although he has been down with a stroke since 2014. His death was announced by Emirati state news agency. He was 73.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced 40 days of official mourning with flags at half mast and three days closure of ministries and official entities at the federal and local levels and the private sector,” the agency reported
His brother, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (known as MBZ) has been in charge of decision-making on major foreign policy decisions, such as joining a Saudi-led war in Yemen and spearheading an embargo on neighbouring Qatar in recent years.
Under the constitution, Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, would act as president until the federal council which groups the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.
Condolences have started pouring in from Arab leaders, including Bahrain’s king, Egypt’s president and Iraq’s prime minister.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed his condolences on the death of Sheikh Khalifa, whom he described as “a true friend of the United States”.
“We deeply valued his support in building the extraordinary partnership our countries enjoy today. We mourn his passing, honour his legacy, and remain committed to our steadfast friendship and cooperation with the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
Sheikh Khalifa came to power in 2004 in the richest emirate Abu Dhabi and became the head of state. He is expected to be succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Khalifa was given full state and honour burial today according to lslamic rights.