ABU DHABI // In a speech delivered ahead of the 39th celebration of National Day, Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, called upon residents to look to the future.
"The government is working hard to achieve social development, to improve quality of life and to realise its developmental goals through a comprehensive national vision that aims to provide excellent educational standards, adequate housing and world-class healthcare services in a sustainable environment," Sheikh Khalifa said in his address to the nation, which was published by WAM state news agency.
Sheikh Khalifa applauded the country's economic "strength, vitality and resilience" in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and stressed the UAE's commitment to economic development and the empowerment of the private sector.
"The realisation of development in the UAE in a future that is less dependent on oil requires focusing on new strategic sectors that utilise energy and resources in promoting highly competitive industries and services," he said.
On the foreign policy front, Sheikh Khalifa named the country's security, commitment to peace and dedication to co-operation with other GCC countries as top priorities. He urged Iran to work towards a fair resolution on the issue of the three occupied islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.
"The humanitarian diplomacy is one of the main pillars of our foreign policy," he said. "Our country will continue its pivotal role in support of the international efforts to confront crises and disasters, and to heed cries for help."
Sheikh Khalifa honoured the memory of late Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed and called the former Ras al Khaimah Ruler "one of the founding fathers who had contributed vigorously and faithfully to the building of the federation, and strengthening its foundation".
Sheikh Khalifa also emphasised the importance of investing in youth and education. Last year, the highest portion of the federal budget was set aside for education, and the President called for the adoption of a national strategy for youth.
"The principles of federation will continue to guide the new generations towards a progress and towards an effective partnership for a brighter future," said Sheikh Khalifa, who said he envisioned a UAE that would "encourage sports and promote youth centres and public libraries".
"The 2nd of December will remain an auspicious day, a special occasion to draw lessons from and a great opportunity to pledge our allegiance to our beloved country," he said.