Sheikh Khalifa has a message for UAE on National Day

Preparing for the future starts today, not tomorrow, are his inspiring words

On the occasion of the UAE’s 46th National Day, marked on December 2nd, The 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.

In a statement provided to Nation Shield, the Armed Forces monthly journal, The 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.”

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