DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (RAZ TV) — The United Arab Emirates’ long-ailing ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, died Friday, the government’s state-run news agency announced in a brief statement. He was 73.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed bajwa & all ranks of Pak Army express heartfelt condolence on the sad demise of President of UAE,HH, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. “Pak has lost a great friend. May Allah Almighty bless his soul & give strength to bereaved family 2 bear this irreparable loss, Ameen” COAS.
Khalifa, the president of the UAE, oversaw much of the country’s blistering economic growth and his name was immortalized on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, after bailing out debt-crippled Dubai during its financial crisis over a decade ago.
The UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced a 40-day period of mourning and a three-day suspension of work in all ministries and the private sector beginning Friday, including flags to be flown at half-staff.
He had long ceased having involvement in the day-to-day affairs of ruling the country. Instead, his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, was seen as the de-factor ruler and the decision-maker of major foreign policy decisions, such as joining a Saudi-led war in Yemen and spearheading an embargo on neighboring Qatar in recent years.
There was no immediate announcement about a successor, although Mohammed bin Zayed is anticipated to claim the presidency. Khalifa, who has rarely been seen in official photos or at public events for years, succeeded his father, the UAE’s founder Sheikh Zayed, in 2004.