46th National Day: Preparing for future starts today, not tomorrow – President Khalifa

By Rajive Singh

Solidarity between UAE people and leadership, a shield against any attempts to undermine nation’s ambitions: Mohammed bin Rashid

2nd of December will be remembered forever: Mohamed bin Zayed

ABU DHABI 2 December 2017: On the occasion of the UAE’s 46th National Day, marked on December 2nd, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has said that the leadership will stay the course laid down by the nation’s founding fathers and continue to deepen the Spirit of the Union, which was motivated by the aspirations of the people.

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In a statement provided to Nation Shield, the Armed Forces monthly journal, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa also spoke about the approaching ”Year of Zayed” in 2018, which will mark 100 years since the birth of the founding father, and urged citizens to make the year one for “loyalty and belonging, as well as for the enhancement of creative and innovative practices that enable our state to become a pivotal actor regionally and globally.”

Below is the speech in full:

“Dear Emirati sons and daughters, May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you.

On this glorious day, on which we celebrate the 46th anniversary of the establishment of our state, we pray to Allah Almighty to have mercy on the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and on his brothers, the co-founders of the Union. While we give a standing ovation in their memory, we take them as inspiration, our inspire the role models, and derive our ideals from their insightful lifetimes and biographies. We ask Allah Almighty to grant them mercy and forgiveness.

Dear Emirati people, We offer our profound gratitude to you for your sincere loyalty and honest and diligent work. On your behalf, we also extend warm congratulations to my brothers: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, who are sharing their far-sighted vision in guiding a nation that is great with its people, proud of its values and principles, strong with its giving and its achievements.

Our federal experiment, which will celebrate its golden jubilee in a few years, boasts of examples of courage, heroism and achievement. Armed with unflinching perseverance, our fathers laid down a solid foundation that delivered remarkable, honourable achievements and a giant productive infrastructure and achieved paradigm changes in all walks of life, making significant transformations that changed the course of history and enabled the country to depart – once and for all – from the eras of division and misery. They paved the way for a successful federal experiment that promoted the concepts of national participation and pride. We will stay the course laid down by our founding fathers and continue to deepen the Spirit of the Union, whose announcement was motivated by the aspirations of our people for a system that unifies and mobilises efforts and unleashes energies through federal institutions that play their role in an integral method with local governments and in complete coordination with all other sectors. This unique federal experiment has become an inspiring role model for many countries.

Dear children, As the nation is preparing to celebrate the ”Year of Zayed” in 2018 to mark 100 years since the birth of the founding father, we invite all government entities and community forces to launch initiatives that deepen the noble values that Sheikh Zayed instilled in us so as to further encourage our people to build and to give and to enhance their resilience to confront challenges. Nations prosper by respecting and appreciating themselves, immortalising their national figures and by committing to values of solidarity and participation. We also urge you to make the Year of Zayed a year for loyalty and belonging as well as for the enhancement of creative and innovative practices which enable our state to become a pivotal actor regionally and globally.

In this respect, we express our appreciation for e the enthusiastic response to the ”Year of Giving” which was developed by the government and private sector into a national strategy, whose objectives were to promote humanitarian work practices in the country and deepen the traits of generosity and cohesion, which have set our people apart from others over centuries.

Dear citizens, 2017 was an eventful year for national work, development and achievements, which have propelled our country to the top rankings in international economic, competiveness and developmental indices. This hard-won progress is proof of the diligent efforts made by the federal government and local governments to create an innovative working environment as well as a friendly climate for the business sector so as to contribute to the government policy to diversify the economic base.

The path towards a better future begins with the diversification of the sources of national income. When we launch projects for renewable energy, space technology and oil derivatives industries; when we create opportunities for small scale enterprises and for tourism, financial and logistic services; and when we invest in human resources, we actually mean diversification.

Investment in human being has always been the essence of the vision for the development of our state since its establishment. Consequently, our focus is mainly directed towards fostering and supporting excellence and innovation and developing the capacities and skills of Emirati human resources. A development that is not human-oriented is doomed to failure. As a successful state, we believe that the prime job of the government is to make people happy; its mandate is to make the homeland a good place in which to live; its goal is to create an environment that revives hopes, to adopt policies that foster dreams, to launch projects that realise great expectations, to engage in actions that make citizens feel safe and enjoy care, employment, education and housing. In this respect, we appreciate the persistent efforts being made by the Follow-Up Committee of the Initiatives of the UAE President to deliver its objectives and its close cooperation with federal and local competent authorities to produce tangible results in developing infrastructure projects for services, housing and improving living standards across the emirates. We also applaud the efforts being made by the federal government, the Federal National Council and local governments to spread the culture of participation, to integrate the citizens into the labour market, to build the capacities of the vulnerable and people of determination, to harness energies of youth and to empower women, who are today efficiently participating in different areas of national action and holding the highest political and legislative posts.

Dear Emirati sons and daughters, Economic growth – despite its importance and priority – is not an end in itself; it is rather a means to make life more balanced and moderate. A development that does not integrate the cultural dimension is not sustainable. The integration of culture into our development strategies is one of the factors of success of our experiment, which has devised legislation that blends authenticity with modernity and has implemented policies that nurture literature and the arts as well as encouraging national innovative and intellectual production and cultural industries. Based on this, the state pays attention to heritage as a ‘national treasure’, a linchpin of identity and a source of social cohesion.

For all these reasons, we recognise and appreciate cultural and human diversity, which we consider a key engine for sustainable development and a means for deepening the culture of openness, dialogue, communication and coexistence, and the denunciation of intolerance, extremism and intellectual isolation. To advance this approach, we launched the National Programme for Tolerance and created a ministry specifically for that purpose and also issued the Anti-Discriminatory Law, which criminalises all forms of discrimination and hatred on the grounds of religion, creed, doctrine, sect, race, colour or language. We also issued a law to combat crimes of terrorism.

For the delivery of these same objectives, we give top priority to justice because there is no stability or investment without the rule of law and justice to enforce the law and to commit to its procedures. We are proud of our judicial system that protects rights and freedoms as well as of the efforts being exerted to enhance its efficiency to become flexible and responsive to the current world developments so as to facilitate litigation proceedings and enhance the successes achieved by our state as an attractive haven for businesses, tourism and investment.

Preparing for the future – near or far – starts today, not tomorrow. Out of this conviction, we approved in last October a cabinet reshuffle, which included unprecedented and qualitative portfolios, whose mandate is to prepare the country for the UAE Centennial Plan 2071 so as to become more capable and resilient to absorb the potential transformations over the next five decades and their implications in areas of businesses, jobs, services and the development of qualified manpower and excellent leaders.

Dear Emirati brothers, The experiment has proven the soundness of the approach adopted by our foreign policy since the establishment of the state, which is characterised by an active vibrancy and presence at regional and international scenes to serve our national interests, to safeguard the state’s sovereignty, to activate the GCC system, to advance efforts towards Arab integration and to contribute towards the emergence of a more just and fair international order in addition to positive participation in whatever effort that strengthens international cooperation to confront the common challenges.

In committing to this policy, we once again call on the Iranian government to sit at the negotiating table for dialogue or to accept international arbitration to resolve the issue of our three occupied islands as part of efforts to maintain security and stability in the Arabian Gulf region – a top priority in our policy. We also renew our rejection of any foreign interference undermining our security or security and the stability of our brethren in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any other sisterly or friendly state. We also reiterate that extremism and terrorism – from which our region suffers – are fed by policies motivated by ambitions for hegemony and adventures for influence from states supporting and financing terrorist and extremist groups. Therefore, there can be no exit from this dark tunnel without a collective consensus that prevents any party whatsoever to disrupt regional and international efforts to realise stability, and which allows countries to take vehement counter-terrorism stances, and to adopt joint measures to hold the sponsors, financiers and supporters of terrorism to account. In addition to that, international efforts should be concerted to put an end to the seven-decade long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories and to create the suitable conditions for the resumption of the Middle East peace process. While we reiterate our support for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of their independent state, we also strongly condemn the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Elsewhere, we voice our deep concern over the conditions of the Muslim Rohingya, who fled Myanmar, and demand active, collective international action to protect them and to put an end to this human tragedy.

We in the United Arab Emirates are at the forefront of the efforts aimed at restoring security and stability in sisterly Yemen, at returning Egypt to its natural leading role in the Arab World, and at restoring security and stability to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan and others. We are also among the countries that support efforts aimed at making the Middle East a region free from weapons of mass destructions.

Thanks to Allah, our state guided by its active humanitarian interaction – a core principle of our foreign policy – is today occupying an advanced place in the alliance of forces of good in the world. The UAE is also among the elite actors in spreading the culture of peace, dialogue, the delivery of foreign aid, the mitigation of impact of disasters and meeting the requirements of the vulnerable. This approach has enabled our country to build a positive, proud image and to forge ties of fruitful cooperation and integration with countries and peoples of the world.

Dear sons and daughters, On this remarkable day, we extend our profound gratitude to our armed forces and security agencies, confirming our relentless efforts to modernise and upgrade their capabilities and to take care of their personnel. We also appreciate and salute our soldiers, officers and commanders for their dedication and devotion in performing their national duties and for their efforts to develop our defence and security capabilities. Thanks and appreciation also go to the loyal people of UAE for their solidarity and deep consciousness as well as to the expatriate residents from sisterly and friendly countries.

May Allah Almighty save you all, guide your steps to the right path and keep you as a valuable wealth for the nation.

May you be well every year and may our nation enjoy the pride and glory it deserves.”


Mohammed bin Rashid: Solidarity between UAE people and leadership, a shield against any attempts to undermine nation’s ambitions

DUBAI: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has said that the strong bonds of solidarity between the UAE people and their leadership are the true shield against any external attempts seeking to undermine the nation’s ambitions for a future where the Emirates would be second to none.

Speaking on the occasion of the 46th National Day, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed said that the 46th anniversary of the establishment of the Union comes at a time the UAE has become more stable and powerful thanks to the noble legacy passed down through the years and shaped the vision of the Founding Fathers who instilled values of patriotism and love for the Homeland.

“The UAE is getting more prosperous over the years thanks to the tireless efforts made by our men and women who hold the name of the United Arab Emirates in high esteem in their hearts, translating their love for their nation in word and deed,” he said.

“I seize the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to extend my heartfelt greetings to my brother, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and all my brothers, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates. God bless them all and support them to continue working for the supremacy of our Homeland and the social welfare and wellbeing of our people. I also extend my sincere greetings to our brave soldiers in the UAE Armed Forces – the shields of this nation who keep our national flag flying high in pride and dignity amongst world nations so that the UAE will continue to remain an oasis of security and stability, and maintain its sovereignty and safety.”

Sheikh Mohammed added that naming 2018 the Year of Zayed “gives us an opportunity to reflect on the myriad accomplishments made by our Late Leader and Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, God bless his soul, whose centennial birth anniversary dawns next year on a land where he spared no effort to ensure stability and prosperity for his people.”

He noted that the 46th anniversary of the Union comes at a time “when we can safely announce that the UAE has become among the world’s most advanced nations. And as we have, over the past years, made strenuous efforts to create a culture of empowerment and finalise our ambitious capacity-building plans, today we are forging ahead toward a fresh phase, the headline strategy of which is “Emirates of the Future”. We have already embarked on the UAE Centennial 2071 Strategy, which is a unique, future-oriented, long-term government plan aimed at sustaining UAE’s development into its 100th anniversary, charting a path and laying a solid foundation for the future of the UAE. Our objective is for future generations in the UAE to lead happier lives in a thriving environment with abundant opportunities, more connectivity and global influence.”

His Highness noted that many people think that “we are just dreaming. But we remind these people of the fact that our Union started as a dream at the hands of visionary people. The late Sheikh Zayed along with his brother, the late Sheikh Rashid, God bless their souls, initiated their drive based on a common dream that was founded on the principle of unity of objective and destiny and they were joined by their brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates, to make this dream come true and build a nation, the backbone of which is the determination of Emirati people who are the State’s most cherished asset.”

The Vice President went on to say that the UAE dream of becoming the best is justified and verified by the advanced rankings boasted by the country across world competitiveness indexes and reports. “On the regional level, the UAE is the fastest growing country; our government performance is the most efficient; our services are the smartest; and we have ensured this kind of harmony between our advanced technologies, our production and wealth-creation systems in a way that does not negatively impact the cultural and humanitarian legacy upon which our blessed Union is based.”

Sheikh Mohammed added that the UAE last year had blazed a trail in the world by establishing ministries for tolerance, happiness, future and youth out of a strong belief that no society can succeed without giving its human wealth its utmost care, attention and tools of empowerment. “On top of these tools is happiness, being a basic right for citizens. Happiness, as we interpret it, materialises when a citizen feels that his or her safety, dignity, home, future and land are being taken care of and protected and that his or her dreams and ambitions are achievable.

“Happiness, as a way of life in our society, has helped reinforce patriotic sentiments among the UAE people. And it is these strong bonds of solidarity between the people and their leadership that shield the nation against any external attempts aimed at undermining our hopes and dreams for a more sustainable future – a future where the UAE plans to become second to none.”

The UAE has become a dreamland for everyone seeking a better life for himself, embracing tolerance as an inalienable cultural value, Sheikh Mohammed said, affirming that the nation can become home to any global citizen seeking to live in peaceful co-existence with other cultures and races within an atmosphere of mutual benefit and giving.

“And herein I’d love to relay a message to all nationalities living and working in the UAE: We truly cherish and value your significant contributions for the country to maintain its positive reputation and bolster its developmental drive. You’re an integral part of the UAE social fabric whose power lies in possessing an ideal environment for multiculturalism.”

Sheikh Mohammed added that youth are the country’s true wealth who are spearheading the nation’s drive to deliver the future, reiterating the UAE leadership’s determination to provide youth with all resources to help them build the State of Tomorrow on solid, unshaken basis.

“As part of our Centennial Strategy, we have formed a new government that includes newly created portfolios, primarily Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Sciences and Food Security. We have to be well-prepared and ready to deal with major world trends at the technical, economic, intellectual and political levels. There is no room for waiting and complacency, and, as the UAE youth represent our future, we renew our strong belief in their potential and innovative ideas to take up the lead in charting a path for a prosperous future.”

Addressing the UAE youth, Sheikh Mohammed said, “The road to the future is not smooth sailing; but by your strong will, determination and hard work, we will realise our ambitions and become best of the best, always and forever.”


Mohamed bin Zayed: 2nd of December is a day that will be remembered forever

ABU DHABI: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said that the 2nd of December is a day that will be remembered forever; a day that witnessed the establishment of a country that would become, within just a few decades, a model of successful state building and a fine example of a united and cohesive nation.

In a statement on the occasion of the UAE’s 46th National Day, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed added that the UAE has become a source of inspiration for states that seek unity, progress and excellence and for states that aspire to overcome challenges and step confidently into the future. In that, he said, the UAE truly serves as a role model not only for the region’s countries, but for the rest of the world.

Following is the full text of the statement:

“Brothers and Sisters Some days in the history of nations are remembered forever – and the 2nd of December is such a day in the history of the United Arab Emirates. This is a day that is associated with a fond memory that lives deep in the heart and mind of each and every single UAE citizen – it is the day that witnessed the founding of our beloved country; it is the day that saw the establishment of a country that would become, within the space of just a few decades, a model of successful state building and a fine example of the united and cohesive nation. Indeed, the UAE has become a source of inspiration for states that seek unity, progress and excellence and for states that aspire to overcome challenges and step confidently into the future. In that, the UAE, truly, serves as a role model not only for the region’s countries, but for the rest of the world.

As we celebrate this glorious day, we remember, with our hearts filled with pride and appreciation, the Nation’s Founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers the Founding Fathers, who, together, built a great nation, a nation that is based on universal values. It is upon the strong foundations that our Founding Fathers laid that our country developed and will keep prospering.

Brothers and Sisters We should celebrate the 46th National Day by reflecting on the experience of our Founding Fathers, who, collectively, provide us with a wealth of knowledge that we should learn from. We should learn from them how to sharpen our sense of belonging to our homeland, how to work together so that our country remains strong and united, how to work together to keep our country safe and stable, how to provide for our people the means of a prosperous life, how to plant the values of loyalty to our country and people in everyone’s heart, how to teach our people that our own lives are of little value when it comes to defending the integrity of our nation.

The 2nd of December visits us every year to remind us of our national values, which teach us that sacrifice for the sake of our country and work for the sake of its progress should be the highest and noblest of goals that we should all strive to reach. This day should fuel all of us with an inexhaustible energy to do more and to work harder to preserve our national heritage that was bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers; to do more to keep the UAE a beacon of unity and strength and a center of charity and unconditional giving that extends to the entire human race.

As we mark the 46th Anniversary of the founding of our nation, we also remember the great achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, and his brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates. We remember their historic role in creating and strengthening our union. This year, we have the more reason to rejoice because our celebrations coincide with an initiative by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan that has declared 2018 as the “Year of Zayed” to mark 100 years since the birth of the country’s founder. Truly, Sheikh Zayed is celebrated as a universal symbol of charity and unlimited giving and global proponent of peaceful coexistence among all nations.

Brothers and Sisters On this auspicious occasion, we renew our pledge that we will stay on the path that was first trodden by Zayed and his brothers – the founding fathers – and that we will save no effort to foster and strengthen our unity and cohesiveness. As we renew this solemn pledge, we realise that our unity is the source of our strength in the face of adversities, that our unity is the point from which we move into building and growing our nation, that our unity is the most important guarantee that we have to maintain the state of security and stability that our country has enjoyed for decades. Maintaining this stability is more pressing than ever as nation states, in many parts of the world, face challenges to their very existence.

We will work together so that our country remain united, as it has always been; we will work together to keep it as a symbol, as a role model of the successful federal state not only in our region but across the globe. We will do this by developing its different institutions and enhancing the work of the government so that it to keep up to date with the requirements of development. This is the path that our country will take so that it remains young and prosperous, so that its people enjoy a life of peace and prosperity, so that we keep our country in the vanguard of great nations.

Our aspirations for our nation have no limits; our ambitions are boundless.

We aspire to be one of the best states in the world in all fields because we believe that the wheel of development is not limited to a specific culture or civilisation. Rather, we believe that development is a right for all countries to enjoy as long as they have a strong will and a true driving force. Once a nation arms itself with knowledge and science, once it believes in the capabilities and talents of its people, once a state creates for its people the right environment that embraces their innovations – once all of that happens, the state will become a developed one in every sense of the word.

It is because of this that we look to the future of our nation with full confidence and optimism; we see the future of our nation not only as a developed one, but also as a nation that contributes to the enrichment of human civilisation and its development.

Indeed, we are able to place our country on the map of the best countries of the world in different fields in the coming years. We are already moving in that direction because we have drawn up the right plans, came up with accurate outlooks, trained our sons and daughters and enabled them to be future leaders in different areas; we are moving in that direction because we have developed the way our government works so that it is able to deal with the requirements of development.

Brothers and Sisters The high rankings achieved by the UAE in international indices – compiled by distinguished global institutions in areas of competitiveness, development, happiness, investment in both people and infrastructure – surely boost our confidence that we are moving in the right direction, which has been set down for our country under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and the support of his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers Their Highnesses the members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates. But as much as these achievements satisfy us, they also put us in a perpetual state of self-challenge, not only to maintain them, but also to build on them and to add new successes that help boost the UAE’s leading position in the world’s map.

Indeed, we are capable of positioning our country among the world’s most developed nations within the coming years. Just as the Nation’s Founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the other Founding Fathers, bequeathed to us a young and powerful country that made us proud to be part of it before the entire world, it is our responsibility to hand it to future generation as one of the best countries in the world. It is in this spirit that I and my brother Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the “UAE Centennial 2071” project at the end of the First Annual Government meeting in September 2017. In its essence, the “UAE Centennial 2071” reflects the ambition of the UAE to be a global pioneer. It includes major goals and mechanisms that will help us continue in the journey of construction and development, that will help us work to secure a better future for the coming generations, that will help us elevate the status of the UAE among the world’s most developed nations.

Brothers and Sisters We are betting on the young sons and daughters of the UAE to execute the goals of the “UAE Centennial 2071”; to turn the grand plan into a reality.

Our young are our true and perpetual wealth, they are the pillars on which our renaissance stands, the pivot of our development and the leaders of the future. Our young have already proven that they are fit to carry this great responsibility, being already armed with knowledge and confidence. We will continue to develop their capabilities by providing them with first-class education that will help them develop their talents and utilise their positive energies; an education that qualifies them to deal with and lead the UAE’s post-oil economy, towards which we have already been working for many years. They will lead a post-oil economy that is based on science and knowledge.

Make no mistake that, while we bet on the strength of our young to venture into the future, armed with their knowledge and qualifications, we are also keen on sowing high moral values in the hearts and souls of our young so that the symphony of knowledge and morality is orchestrated masterfully.

Undoubtedly, high moral values help maintain the stability and balance of societies, because, no matter how developed nations become, their development and success will always be fragile if it is not based on a solid moral grounding. The UAE has always been a nurturing home for tolerance and a deep-rooted value system, which we work hard to instil in our current and future generations.

Brothers and Sisters As we celebrate today the limitless giving of our Founding Fathers, who laid down the foundations of the UAE and built its pillars, we can never forget our martyrs who sacrificed their own lives in defense of our nation, in defence of our values, in defence of our way of life. Indeed, they went far and beyond the call of duty and proved to all that the UAE and its people are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice in support of its friends and allies in time of crisis. Truly, the heroic actions of our martyrs on the battlefield will be written in letters of light and will always be a bright page in our history and the history of Arab and Muslim nations. Their sacrifices unmistakably show that when the people of the UAE respond to the call of duty, they spare no effort in safeguarding our homeland and protecting their right to development and stability.

The Arab world faces today an intertwined set of threats and challenges, namely the menace of terrorism and extremism, the escalating sectarian tension, the continuous attempts by foreign parties to meddle in the region’s internal affairs; these are parties that aim to achieve their own agenda and ambitions at the expense of the region and its peoples. Under these conditions, the Arab states need, today and more than ever, to promote their cooperation and common action. Their increased and effective cooperation is needed not only to face these challenges, but also to change the bitter realities that the peoples of the Arab world are facing on a daily basis. It is imperative that we bring the Arab peoples hope and to boost their morale, it is important that we do not leave them a vulnerable prey to extremist groups and terrorist organisations, which seek to brainwash the young and bring them up under the dark shadow of their nihilist ideologies.

It is now, more than ever, a pressing need that the Arab peoples, the young in particular, know that these ideologies are maiming the beautiful and shining face of our faith, that the version of Islam that they have produced has nothing to do with the true Islam that rejects extremism and encourages tolerance, moderation and peaceful dialogue among all people.

Therefore, we will continue to do all in our power to confront these groups and those who stand behind them, support them or incite them to carry out acts of hatred and terror. We will do so armed with a comprehensive strategy that is based on boosting the values of tolerance, moderation and acceptance of others; a strategy that is based on reforming existing religious discourse and promoting the true, civilised face of Islam. We will do so through effective participation in any reginal or international efforts to confront the dark forces of extremism and terror, because we believe that the war on extremism and terrorism is a war that must be won. We should emerge out of this war victorious because it concerns the very safety and well-being of the peoples of the region. Undoubtedly, this is a war that concerns the entire world, because the menace of terror makes no exceptions and targets all of us. Therefore, fighting terrorism should be a joint and comprehensive global effort.

The UAE realises its historic responsibility to stand by its friends and allies, to help them overcome their plights and crises. We will spare no effort to provide any form of support that helps to make the region and the entire world a better place, because we believe that security is the bedrock of development.

We live in a world that is fraught with accelerating changes in all areas and we cannot, therefore, live in isolation. It is because of this that we believe in the importance of opening up to others and the importance of learning from the successful experiences of others in all fields of technology and development. As a result, we are working on diversifying our foreign policy by making it open to all of the world’s countries. Our foreign policy is based on building effective relationships with the major powers in a way that promotes our country’s position on the map of the world’s advanced economies and boosts its active participation in both the regional and global arenas.

Brothers and Sisters: On this eternal day, we renew our pledge to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan that we will do our best to meet the aspirations of our people, to work with sincerity and dedication for the sake of our homeland, so that it remains a symbol of giving and charity, so that it remains a beacon of tolerance and coexistence and so that it continues to carry the torch of hope.

Happy National Day”