ABU DHABI, 5th August, 2018 (WAM) — This year, the Year of Zayed, the 6th of August marks the 52nd anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Since this momentous occasion, the UAE’s development journey began to take shape, with the Union forming shortly after on 2nd December 1971, under the leadership of the Founding Father, a model for wise and tolerant leadership, and diplomatic prowess.
Sheikh Zayed succeeded in achieving his people’s aspirations for unity and stability. As a result of his exceptional leadership, the UAE was able to make great strides in its development journey.
In conjunction with the Year of Zayed, and in collaboration with the National Archives, Emirates News Agency, WAM, has put together a monthly series highlighting the late ruler’s legacy.
The 6th August 1966 represents Sheikh Zayed’s accession as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, but also his influence in strengthening Arab bonds during a time when regional political turmoil was at a high.
Early on, Sheikh Zayed realised the necessity behind extending bridges of cooperation and communication with all Arab nations, hence his taking on the monumental journey in August 1974 across the Arab Maghreb countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Egypt, laying the foundations for substantial diplomatic and political ties.
During the 1976 Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sheikh Zayed affirmed the UAE’s steadfast position in supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people and their right to statehood.
Sheikh Zayed continued to promote the nation’s development process. The month of August saw the issuance of a series of legislative decrees and resolutions contributing towards developing the UAE’s institutions, including the issuing of a decree on 1st August 1973 establishing the Federal Supreme Court as the highest judicial body in the country. The late ruler also issued an Emiri decree on 5th August 1973 forming the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, that continues to benefit underprivileged persons within the UAE and abroad.
Sheikh was adamant about expanding the UAE’s development and humanitarian assistance, without any form of racial, religious, sectarian or cultural discrimination.
On 1st August 1990, the Founding Father issued instructions to finance the reclamation of 188,000 feddans and construction of hotels to promote tourism in Egypt. A year later, on 3rd August, the late ruler laid the foundation stone for the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rabat, Morocco.
He donated US$5 million to the Organisation of Islamic Conference and its Islamic Solidarity Fund on 24th August 1997. Two days later, Sheikh Zayed gave $15 million to support the Palestinian people and confront the economic siege imposed by Israel.
Sheikh Zayed also sent urgent relief aid to the victims of an earthquake that struck Turkey in August 1999. Lastly, in August 2003, he donated medical equipment and supplies to equip six hospitals in Iraq, at his own expense.
These political, humanitarian, and diplomatic acts are evidence of the late ruler’s rich legacy across local, regional and international levels, ultimately creating a lasting and positive impact on nations.