ABU DHABI // Sheikh Khalifa, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, told citizens and residents on the eve of the 38th National Day that the country would continue on a path to peace and prosperity. He said the UAE had come a long way in terms of safety and security since it was established in 1971. "On this occasion, we wish to reassure everyone that our nation today is stronger and better off," Sheikh Khalifa said, as reported by WAM, the state news agency. "Our economy is in a good state and our society is in a good state."
UAE diplomacy, he said, had earned itself a significant position in the international political arena through initiatives in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other places. He expressed his "absolute support" for any effort that aimed to revive the "original [Emirati] practices", stressing that families were "the backbone of society, where young people learn compassion, solidarity and patriotism".
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, reiterated in his address that the country was determined to develop and prosper. He spoke as Dubai's economy has come under international scrutiny with the announcement that Dubai World would seek help in managing its debt. "Ambitions will remain the ally of our plans, big goals will remain our objectives, nobility of our nation and welfare of the citizens will remain the compass that guides us and directs our work," Sheikh Mohammed said.
Sheikh Saud bin Rashid, the Ruler of Umm al Qaiwain, said the country had positioned itself on the world map through remarkable achievements, many by Sheikh Khalifa during his first term. They include enhancing the role of the Federal National Council through the election of half of its members, empowering women in politics, successfully dealing with the financial crisis and moving to establish the first nuclear plant for energy production.
"I pray to God Almighty to help and protect our beloved country and grant health and wellness to their highnesses the President, Vice President and Supreme Council members and rulers of emirates, and to help them to continue their efforts for the success and development of our country," he said. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Sharjah, said uniting the seven emirates had helped to create a powerful and prosperous nation.
"This should inspire every citizen, whichever role he or she occupies, to work with determination to bring our the best for himself and his family," he said. "He or she should become an active element in his or her society, not only with words but with action, participating in the creation of a more glorious future for the country." Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah, said the last decades had seen drastic improvements in education and standards of living.
"The uae has made bold and great strides in the last decade in all fields of development," he said. "Thanks to Allah and the determination of the leadership and the unity of its people, we have been successful." Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Fujairah, called the UAE federation a model for the region. "Under the union," he said, "the UAE built industry, educational, sports and cultural premises as per international standards in a way that surprised the world. Today, the UAE is ranked among the civilised countries in light of its recent record achievements. We have a right to be proud of what God endowed on us."
Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, the Ruler of Ajman, said the UAE's modern history marked it as a cohesive, homogeneous and stable country that was able to lead and help others in the region develop. "The UAE has contributed in the development of many Arab countries," he said, "whether through grants or financial assistance, or participation of the UAE companies in major investment projects in those countries with huge capitals."