United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a pro-Western moderniser who had aligned the Gulf Arab state closer to the United States and its allies, died on Friday May 13th.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced the death of Khalifa, who was also ruler of the UAE’s richest emirate, Abu Dhabi, but gave no details.
Khalifa, born in 1948, had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014. He was buried and funeral prayers were held on Friday, state news agency WAM said.
“The UAE has lost its righteous son and leader of the ’empowerment phase’ and guardian of its blessed journey,” his half-brother and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said on Twitter, praising Khalifa’s wisdom and generosity.
Under the constitution, vice-president and premier Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, would act as president until the federal supreme council which groups the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.