x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

'The most precious of things'

An interview with Sheikh Zayed by Rashed Abdullah, in Al Ittihad under the headline "Zayed Father of the Union" on December 1, 1971.

Sheikh zayed speaks to the media at the time of Union day. Courtesy Al Ittihad
Sheikh zayed speaks to the media at the time of Union day. Courtesy Al Ittihad

Q: Isn't the formation of the union in fact a sacrifice for you rather than a gain?

A: A man would give a lot for something he deems precious and the union is the most precious of all things. It is our first and foremost objective for the region and the pan-Arab nation as a whole. The union embodies a model of comprehensive unity to which aspires the greater Arab world. I believe that the future holds a great deal of prosperity for this state.

Q: What about the possibility of other Gulf countries joining the union?

A: Our brothers in Qatar and Bahrain will always remain dear to us whether they join the union or not. We are mutually bound by blood . I believe our destinies are the same and intertwined just like our peoples' . As long as our beliefs remain unchanged and as long as our door remains open, I am certain we will all agree to what best satisfies Allah's will and serves the best interests of our people and nation.

Q: What about Ras al Khaimah's integration into the union?

A: We don't consider Ras al Khaimah to be outside the union; we hope that efforts being made will succeed in overcoming a few trivial obstacles. The results achieved at this point augur well and we hope that a sevenfold union will be officially declared, God willing.

Q: How do you perceive the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, especially King Faisal's position?

A: The Saudi Kingdom is a great brotherly and friendly Arab country. Our perception of this relationship is that of a brother to an older brother. As for the positions of His Majesty King Faisal, they are well-known and no one can forget his great stances in favour of the Gulf area and the union.

Q: What will become of the state's relationship with Britain?

A: The birth of the union means the proclamation of independence. The state has enough capabilities and potential to be independent.

Q: Do you think you will be able to defend your country and your region after the withdrawal of the British?

A: There is no doubt about it. The sons of the Gulf region are capable of filling any void that could result from the withdrawal of the British troops. Britain never had any problems or difficulties in the region because the Gulf has always lived in peace and stability. The people of the Gulf region possess the capabilities, wealth and awareness necessary to assume the responsibility for their nations and territories. This is why it has become crucial that Britain leave this country for its own people.