Dear citizens, Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. [May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.]
On the anniversary of this glorious day of the unity of our will and the declaration of our Union, we convey our warmest congratulations to the sons and daughters of the United Arab Emirates for explicitly expressing their loyalty, allegiance and perseverance for further promoting the spirit of the Union.
We also extend our sincere congratulations and felicitations to my brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and to Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates – may God save them all – for their dedication to serve the affairs of State and their care for both Emirati citizens and expatriate residents and for their devoted efforts to dispense justice and preserve the gains of the Union.
December 2nd is a day on which we recall the impressive and insightful life of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and also recall his fellow founding fathers, who devoted their energy and thought to establish a strong, viably structured Federal State, a prosperous nation, where people enjoy justice, safety and welfare, where people feel respected and dignified and live a glorious present with a bright future.
It is a day of expressing our gratitude to great men, who laid down the foundation of a successful state whose achievements have surprised the world and for providing its citizens with sources of strength and welfare.
These remarkable achievements have placed the UAE at the top rank of the world s nations in prestigious indices of human development, happiness and satisfaction.
This, in itself, represents a bumper harvest of what our founding forefathers nurtured. We will always be proud of their devotion and will stay on their course to preserve the nation and drive its development forward.
We and all the UAE people feel extreme joy and pleasure that this year’s National Day anniversary coincides with the selection of Dubai as host for the 2020 World Expo, the world’s largest and prestigious exhibition. It is a well-earned victory and a certificate of appreciation for our fathers who laid down the foundation of a strong State that can feel proud, in front of the nations of the world, of its achievements.
It also represents a medal for every Emirati man and woman as well as for every resident living in the State.
On the day of triumph, we all express our rich gratitude and thanks to the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for this magnificent national achievement. It emphasises the stature of the UAE as an international hub for attracting business and as an ideal platform for meeting of creative ideas and minds. We also highly appreciate and value the national work teams for their tireless, faithful dedication over two years.
Dear citizens, Since the establishment of the State, we have recognised the true value of the human being in the building of the nation, we are also committed to safeguarding his rights, ensuring his welfare, empowering him and diversifying his options and realising his aspirations.
This is the legacy of our fathers, which is entrusted to us, and to which we are committed as a policy because a wise leadership is one under whose rule people feel that their life is safe and their community is coherent and well-knit. This is the true spirit and essence of the Union and the basics of good governance.
Today, we, with the help of Allah and with your dedicated efforts, clear visions, integration in planning and implementation and fruitful cooperation between federal and local authorities, will pursue the path of our fathers to further consolidate the Union’s institutions and protect its gains.
Towards that end, we will adopt the quality of life, development, and the rule of law as standards to assess success and measure progress.
Our government’s ambition does not only seek to leverage indices of economic growth, though these are important, but also to improve the living standards of citizens, to put the UAE on the map of the world s most advanced nations, in terms of justice, security, education, culture, housing, sports, health, environment and smart cities.
The future to which we aspire will not be within our reach without a rich, influential society and cultural environment that strengthens self-confidence, makes us feel proud of our leaders, represents our heritage and promotes our adherence to our Islam as a religion of mercy, tolerance, moderation and openness.
Development that does not protect the family, that does not inspire the bringing together of the culture of society and its ethics, is development that is incomplete, regardless of its returns, because stripping the human being of his language, traditions, customs and values means to deprive him of his sense of belonging and of elements of his identity, stifling his capabilities to rise to challenges, to innovate and to aspire to excellence, within a spirit of conscious openness to other cultures of the world. Furthermore, there will be no future for our development without local culture, and there will be no future for our national culture without integrating and incorporating the components of local culture into the school curricula, media policies, and social and family upbringing programmes. By the same token, also of importance and priority, allegiance to the nation and its leadership, respect for the constitution, abidance by the law and commitment to community values remain the firm principles in the pursuit of which we will never display leniency because the preservation of our security is our ultimate goal for providing a conducive environment for development.
Development will also have no future if it is not based on an ever-developing education with an integrated system in which the teacher plays a pivotal role. While we are proud of the teacher as the backbone of the learning process, we are also determined to improve his living conditions and upgrade his working environment. We have also taken advanced steps in developing a modern education system that is responsive to developments as they unfold, that takes the culture of the local community as a source of its curricula and the meeting of social and economic needs as a prime target for building a good citizen and a qualified workforce capable of protecting the Union s gains, carrying the burdens of development and running the affairs of the state. We are also working to empower women and youth, to take care of our mothers and children, to promote investment in diverse sectors that are most capable of developing knowledge and improve efficiency, to deepen the value of work and achievement, and to foster the culture of volunteerism and community participation. To reach these goals, we call for the adoption of a national plan for the development of sports which will create a world-class infrastructure for both modern and traditional sports. We believe that engaging in sports serves as a school which deepens the spirit of belonging and fair competition and gives individuals a healthy physical and mental lifestyle that prompts them to work hard and become a productive force.
We are confident that these visions and targets will definitely evolve into initiatives, projects and programmes within the new strategic plan of the Federal Government and other strategic plans of the relevant ministries, institutions and councils. Sports and culture have, like education, a role in building the human being , in our investment in the future and in protecting the Union.
Dear citizens, On this day, we express our appreciation of and acknowledge the value of the Flag Day initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for its role in upholding the symbol of our Union, which serves as a headline for our identity, confirming our unity and vision, as well as instilling the meaning and connotations of patriotism into our sons and daughters. We pledge to Allah that we will keep the Union strong and majestic and its flag fluttering high. We also praise the institutions established under our Constitution and the federal and local authorities for shouldering their responsibilities towards the nation and the citizen, for their intelligent outlook for the future in adopting excellence, leadership and planning to address the current challenges by finding solutions that fit the nature of our society and its lifestyle, and for launching diverse initiatives with the aim of promoting the values of social solidarity and cohesion, of increasing participation of nationals in the labour market, and in generating sustainable job opportunities in all emirates in a true partnership with the private sector.
We also commend the continuing efforts to reform the local labour market by removing the obstacles hindering progress of Emiratisation which limit the participation of national professionals in it. We express our appreciation of the measures taken to restructure industry and business sectors to enable them to move from the phase of a labour-intensive dependence to a phase where productive processes are driven by knowledge, advanced technology and a qualified workforce. We also applaud the plans that have been announced for diversifying sources of renewable and alternative energy and for the adoption of a unified and comprehensive national strategy on emergency, crisis and disaster management that enhances the resilience of the nation and community alike and builds on and increases their capacity to respond to risks and mitigate their impact.
Within the context of our keenness to achieve happiness and welfare for citizens, we have decided to allocate additional Dh20 billion for funding works and projects under the initiatives we have launched to achieve the aspired standard of welfare to our citizens.
In recognition of the maximum priority of housing as a stepping stone for a decent and safe life, we launched our initiative to build 10,000 houses for citizens in various emirates to deliver justice, equality and welfare. We also instructed the government to immediately implement this initiative and secure the necessary funds to complete it.
We also decided to raise the housing assistance the citizen gets from the Zayed Housing Programme from Dh500,000 to Dh800,000.
Our appreciation also goes to the federal government for earmarking over 50 per cent of the Union budget for the social sector in the fiscal year 2014, to develop and upgrade education, health, labour, social and Islamic affairs, culture, youth and community development, the Zayed Housing Programme, and other social benefits.
Dear citizens, experiment has proven the feasibility and soundness of the approach we have pursued over the last decades, to which we will continue to adhere.
We will also remain committed to an independent, flexible foreign policy whose ultimate goal is to serve national interests, to safeguard the sovereignty of the State, to strengthen the framework of the GCC as it moves towards a fully fledged integration and to consolidate cooperation with Arab countries and regional alliances for building a regional and international environment based on peace, stability and mutual trust.
We will continue this policy, committing ourselves to combating terrorism and extremism, to seek to resolve conflicts through peaceful means, to engage in international efforts for conservation of the environment and to contribute to the forging of a more just and fair international order.
This policy has enabled our State to maintain close ties with brotherly and friendly countries, to earn an prominent international stature and maintain a strong presence in international and regional organisations, to host international institutions, organisations, and conferences, and provide development and humanitarian aid, cherishing the legacy of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made the humanitarian dimension a true part of the UAE s foreign policy. We will also continue to call for peace, development and cooperation, appreciating and valuing highly the GCC and Arab support for the UAE s historic and legitimate right to its three occupied islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb, asserting that the only way to resolve this issue through direct negotiations or international arbitration that strengthens the opportunities for security and stability in the region.
At the same time, we welcome the initial agreement between Iran and the P5+1 world powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme and we also express our hope that the agreement will represent a step that paves the way for a permanent agreement that preserves stability of the region and wards off tensions.
It is no secret that we are deeply concerned about tensions that are being experienced in the region, which have promoted sedition and which have fuelled spells of extremism, terrorism and violence. At the same time, we highly appreciate and value the positive presence and fruitful activity of our diplomacy in defending our national choices. Amongst these are the advancing of the progress of the GCC, advocacy of just Arab causes, of which the key one is the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state with the holy city of Jerusalem as its capital, and support for meaningful initiatives to enable Egypt regain its Arab leading role, as well as the restoration of peace to Syria, calm to Tunisia, security to Libya, stability to Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and other countries, as well as advancing the efforts being made to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction and increasing pressure on Israel to comply with international and legitimate resolutions on its withdrawal from all Arab occupied territories.
On this spectacular occasion, we salute the commanders of our Armed Forces and police and security agencies for their dedication in discharging their duties of preserving order and security and promoting tranquillity as well as for their efforts to upgrade our nation s defence and security capabilities.
We also pledge the continuation of our persistent effort to further develop their capabilities, to modernise their equipment and to ensure delivery of comprehensive care to them and their families. We would like also to thank expatriate residents from brotherly and friendly countries for their commendable role in our development.
Dear citizens, what has been accomplished over the past 42 years has been an exceptional and phenomenal achievement in which you all have participated, while being consistent and united in your confidence that tomorrow will be definitely better than today as the present is better than the past.
We pray to Allah to make us grateful servants, to guide our steps to the right path, to aid us with strong will and to instill a fervent vibrancy in our people. May Allah grant you success and may you all be well every year.