Russia and the Middle East
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The year 2018 declared the "Year of Zayed" in the UAE

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, has declared 2018 the "Year of Zayed" in the United Arab Emirates. The year 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and todays announcement is being held on the anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed's Accession Day - the day he assumed leadership in Abu Dhabi on 6th August 1966, marking the start of a new epoch in the history of United Arab Emirates.

The Year of Zayed will highlight the role of the late leader in establishing the UAE Federation, and his local, regional and international achievements.
The Year of Zayed will seek to achieve several objectives, including being a time to highlight the role of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in establishing the UAE and consolidating its foundations of modern development, with an emphasis on the nation's local, regional and global achievements, and continue to form the basis of this countrys progress.

The Year of Zayed will seek to share Sheikh Zayed's values and principles, as well as one of the greatest world leaders, with an inspirational wisdom, vision and patience. This celebration will strengthen Sheikh Zayed's stature as a symbol of patriotism and love for the nation. The Year will be an opportunity to portray Sheikh Zayeds legacy in forthcoming projects and initiatives that express his vision and values.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that setting 2018 as the Year of Zayed reflects the unique standing that the late leader holds with every Emirati as the founding leader of the Union. With his wisdom and goodness, Sheikh Zayed set the foundations of modern development across all sectors in the UAE. His generosity is experienced not only in the UAE and the Gulf region, but also throughout the Arab world and internationally, with contributions and initiatives that continue to reflect his unerring skill as a modern leader, who gained the respect of so many people around world.

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa said, "On this day, August 6th, a new era dawned upon us all when the late Sheikh Zayed assumed command of the Abu Dhabi government, and began the march towards unity, prosperity and societal development." President Sheikh Khalifa pointed out that the late Sheikh Zayed was able to lay down solid foundations for a strong, united nation that balanced the requirements for modernity while preserving the cultural and social heritage of the UAE. This effective model has been a source of inspiration for countries seeking progress.

President Sheikh Khalifa said, "The Year of Zayed is a great national occasion when we will proudly share memories of the life of the founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his gift to us of deeply-rooted values, principles and traditions that have become part of our Emirati identity."
He added that this is especially true since the Union that Sheikh Zayed established with his brothers, the Rulers of the UAE, was based on unity and solidarity to build a progressive society that benefits everyone, and in which people live in security and stability.

The President called upon all the nation's people to uphold the noble values instilled in them by the late Sheikh Zayed, including those of wisdom, respect, determination, loyalty, a sense of belonging to the nation, and a willingness to make sacrifices at whatever cost. President Khalifa continued to say, the recognition of these values and our fulfillment of them will encourage the unity of our nation and strengthen our resilience in facing risks and challenges.

His Highness also called for making 2018 a year of achievements, initiatives, events and programmes that reflect the great historical personality of the late Sheikh Zayed, highlighting his pioneering role, his vision and his sound leadership. President Khalifa said that as we celebrate the Year of Zayed, we shall reaffirm our commitment to continue his legacy and work, guided by his wisdom and vision.

The 'School of Zayed', he said, is a source of inspiration for every step that the UAE takes; a solid foundation for the consolidation of the federal structure of our young nation; and a stepping stone for its future, full of strength and respect, leading up to the creation of one of the finest countries in the world. He went on to say that Sheikh Zayed's real wealth was not in materialism, but in his investment in the men and women who build the future of their nation. Therefore, we are a nation determined to follow in his footsteps, empowering Emirati people in all fields to contribute to their country's comprehensive and sustainable development.

Accordingly, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in response to the President's directives and to achieve the years goals, called for the launch of a comprehensive framework to develop an integrated and consolidated agenda that activates initiatives within all federal and local institutions. He said, "We celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest and most noble men who dedicated his life for the present and future of the nation."

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid went on to say, "the noble values and traditions of the late Sheikh Zayed represent a true wealth and a source of pride for all those in the UAE, an inexhaustible well of giving from which current and future generations learn how to sacrifice all that is precious for the homeland. This is a supreme goal that we adhere to, and one to which we all work towards, to have the strength needed to survive difficulties no matter how large they may be, armed with perseverance and patience."

"Sheikh Zayed has instilled in us the willpower and determination to challenge and achieve the impossible. This is why we are always convinced that we are capable of being pioneers and to become one of the best countries in the world. He inspired us to see his way to the future, to follow in his footsteps with confidence and insight, and to consolidate the gains and achievements," he added. Sheikh Mohammed noted how the late founding father was a role model of how a ruler interacted with his people. "He was modest, and he personally checked on the needs of citizens. He would visit their homes and attend their occasions, thereby creating a unique bond with the people, becoming an inspiration to many in our region and the world."

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi affirmed that Sheikh Zayed was a symbol of Arab unity and solidarity. History sheds light on his role in strengthening the bonds of Arab solidarity and supporting brotherly nations in times of adversity, including the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), which was established in Abu Dhabi in 1981. The late Sheikh Zayed worked wholeheartedly to promote joint Gulf action based on the belief in unity as a path of excellence, pride and progress.

Sheikh Mohamed said that the late ruler gained a reputation throughout the Arab world for his intellect and actions that ignored division, difference, and rivalry between Arab states, in addition to his insightful vision in international relations, acting as a guarantor of security, stability and development for all people of the world.

Nour Salman/Christopher Moran

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Tariq alfaham