Vice-President recounts historic journey on 50th anniversary of UAE’s birth

Mohammad goes down memory lane to highlight the nation’s humble beginnings and enormous determination to succeed

Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan with Shaikh RashidBin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Abu Dhabi: “Fifty years is not something in the age of nations … but with the Founding Father Shaikh Zayed every year was 50 in terms of work and achievement,” His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said on his twitter account to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the great efforts and patient diplomacy that went into forging the UAE federation.

Shaikh Mohammad took a trip 50 years down memory lane to the time he witnessed the spectacular achievement of the founding fathers — Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. “Today, February 18, marks the historic anniversary of our state. Fifty years ago, on February 18, 1968, in two desert tents, on a high plateau called Al Sidira between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid met and agreed to establish a state and called on the rest of the UAE to join. From there we started, from there we agreed,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.

Shaikh Mohammad added that February 18 was a historic day. “I was there … I met the good intentions with the high aspirations in the tent without a bed … I heard Rashid say to Zayed: You’re President … And Zayed became President, Father and Founder … The eternal leader of this country — Zayed did not ask for the presidency … But he was called by history to build a nation and a state,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

“The nation remembers today this anniversary so as not to forget the beginnings … And not to forget the purity of intentions … And to stay aware that from the desert we started our journey … to the space we have arrived [in two years’ time, the UAE’s spacecraft Al Amal or Hope arrives to orbit the planet Mars. The arrival is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE] … And for the happiness and prosperity of our people we strive,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

The visionary leadership of Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid created prosperity and laid the foundations of today’s modern society to provide UAE citizens with the finest infrastructure, telecommunications, hospitals, schools and all the other facilities and services that underpin an advanced nation.

With the British announcement in 1968 of their plans to withdraw from the Gulf by 1971, Shaikh Zayed became the union’s most forceful voice in Arab and international media.

Shaikh Zayed’s message was confident and optimistic, notwithstanding his country’s lack of the most rudimentary prerequisites of a modern state.

Soon after assuming power on August 6, 1966, as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Zayed underscored the importance of a union and said: “In harmony, in some sort of federation, we could follow the example of other developing countries.”


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