ABU DHABI // President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nayhan has said the stability of the UAE amidst changes in the Arab World is proof that the principles upon which the country was founded – unity and respect for human dignity - were sound.
In a speech released on the state news agency, Wam, he said the UAE was committed to helping ensure that stability, security and development prevail in friendly Islamic countries.
“As we follow developments in a number of sisterly Arab countries, we affirm our respect for the choices of their peoples and express our support for the ongoing efforts to overcome this situation in a manner that preserves unity,” he said.
“As part of our membership of the GCC, we are closely monitoring the situation in our sister Bahrain, asserting our full support for the efforts being made by its leadership to promote national dialogue.”
Addressing the business sector, Sheikh Khalifa called for improved corporate social responsibility strategies.
“Our economy today remains on track and flourishing, buoyed by the stellar performance of some economic sectors, the improvement in liquidity, and the increase in surpluses,” he said.
Speaking about the challenges that lie ahead for the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa said national identity, an imbalance in the job market and Emiratisation needed to be addressed.
He said he hoped the establishment of a Federal Council for the Demographic Structure, the National Qualifications Authority and the Khalifa Emiratisation Fund would help provide solutions.
“We hope the initiatives of these bodies will serve as a realistic prelude for tackling these challenges we are facing,” he said.
Sheikh Khalifa also said the state was adopting a national security and defence strategy that would assist in the UAE’s commitment to combating terrorism and all forms of organised crime, adding that they would deal “in a serious way” with anything that posed a threat to internal security
Finally, the President paid tribute to the children of Emiratis for showing “solidarity, allegiance, a unity”. He also greeted residents from “sisterly and friendly countries who are living among us”.
“Together, we have gone through major steps and have witnessed years replete with achievements and success,” he said. “And we, with the help of God, will stay the course of the triumphal march, steadfast and in full confidence, so as to reach that for which we aspire - a promising future of prosperity and well-being.”
Below is the full text of the President's address:
"Brother Emirati men and women, "Our country is forging ahead steadily in making progress and our national economy has weathered the storm of the global economic crisis thanks to its vibrancy, resilience, diversity and its sound legislative environment. Our economy today remains on track and flourishing, buoyed by the stellar performance of some economic sectors, the improvement in liquidity, and the increase in surpluses.
"However, while expansion and diversification of the economic base and rise in growth rates are all important leading indicators, they are not an end in themselves. Rather, they are means towards the higher end, which is the happiness of man, the coherence of family, the solidarity of society, and the sovereignty of the state. This is the development model approved by the UAE Vision 2021, as a sustainable model of human society, whose target is to empower the society and to build the capacities, skills and knowledge of its members.
"It is our road map for the future and the main way to address the challenges faced both by the State and by society. On the top of these are national identity, the imbalance in the job market, low productivity and the weak rates of replacement and Emiratisation.
"We have already taken serious measures in that direction by establishing the Federal Council for the Demographic Structure, the National Qualifications Authority and the Khalifa Emiratisation Fund as well as other agencies. We hope the initiatives of these bodies will serve as a realistic prelude for tackling these challenges we are facing, like Emiratisation, the reduction of foreign workforce, increasing of the opportunities for training and the qualification of the national workforce in a manner that hones their skills and puts more demands on them.
"While recognising the role and contribution from the business sector over the past 40 years, it must be noted that this sector should display more commitment today in terms of corporate social responsibility, so as to expand its participation in nation building, in protecting the local community, in increasing productivity and in the provision of investment in development and training and in attracting national human resources by creating more job opportunities for them.
"Dear Emirati men and women, Our State is adopting a national security and defence strategy based on enhancing and supporting arrangements for maintaining public security and the rule of law along with developing skills and raising the efficiency of human element, in addition to our commitment to combating terrorism and all forms of alien organised crime and to dealing in a serious way with whatever harms internal security and stability.
"With God's grace, the UAE is today acquiring the ability to defend our national gains and to protect our vital interests. We have given our armed forces special attention as a protective shield for the sovereignty, independence and security of the homeland. These forces have efficiently kept international security and peace and have proven their high efficiency in delivering aid to brotherly and friendly countries. Our armed forces will remain a source of our pride and a depository of our trust.
"Dear brother and sisters, The current transformation in the Arab World has proven the soundness of the principles and pillars upon which our State has been based since its birth, which call for respect for the human being and his dignity, guaranteeing his rights as the backbone of stability of our communities and the essence of the security of the State.
"We have built our foreign policy principles and practices on moderation, the maintenance of security and stability, the adoption of peaceful means to settle internal and external disputes, on recourse to international legitimacy, on respect for the rule of law and the aspirations of peoples, establishing relations of cooperation with all countries of the world which treat the UAE with all respect and appreciation and are keen to extend bridges of friendship with all its dimensions and forms.
"The commitment to these values have been clearly evident through the approach we have followed in supporting the GCC joint action. We are keen to continue working with our brothers in the GCC to complete political, economic, security and social integration. And, as part of our membership of the GCC, we are closely monitoring the situation in our sister Bahrain, asserting our full support for the efforts being made by its leadership to promote national dialogue in a way that preserves its security and unity.
"As we follow developments in a number of sisterly Arab countries, we affirm our respect for the choices of their peoples and express our support for the ongoing efforts to overcome this situation in a manner that preserves unity and cohesion and meets the aspirations of their peoples. We will also continue our full support to our Palestinian brothers and to their efforts to restore their legitimate rights and to declare their independent state. We are also committed to offer everything that will help to ensure that stability, security and development prevail in friendly Islamic countries.
"As part of our international responsibility, our State is working seriously to enhance and coordinate humanitarian assistance and relief programmes and to provide aid development to developing countries, along with its contribution to international efforts for peacekeeping, reconstruction, disaster and crisis management, as well as responding to appeals for humanitarian relief.
"This is confirmed by the UAE's distinguished partnership in maintaining international peace and security, its effective contribution in various UN activities and its agencies and its pledging of assistance to the tune of billions of dollars. We remain committed to our principled policy to prohibit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to engage with the international community to spare the world from the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
"Brothers and sisters, The security and stability of the State is a trust and keeping it is a responsibility which doesn't tolerate leniency or hesitance. Our gallant Armed Forces and our Police and security forces have been and will remain the strong protective shield and line of defence to earn the trust of and maintain the security and stability of the country and its citizens. We salute those commanders, officers and personnel on this glorious day for their dedication and faithfulness in performing their duty and for what they do to upgrade our national defence and security capabilities.
"We also pay tribute to the children of the loyal UAE people for showing solidarity, allegiance, a unity in their ranks and a deep consciousness. We also greet residents from sisterly and friendly countries who are living among us.
"Together, we have gone through major steps and have witnessed years replete with achievements and success. And we, with the aid of God, will stay the course of the triumphal march, steadfast and in full confidence, so as to reach that for which we aspire - a promising future of prosperity and well-being.
"We pray to the Almighty that He may keep our country strong and secure and that He may grant us the determination and strength to protect it as an oasis of security, stability and prosperity."
- Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi