President Rodrigo Duterte extended his condolences to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the passing of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whom he described as a “bold visionary.”
Duterte honored Khalifa, saying the latter’s leadership was crucial in the UAE’s economic transformation and “deeper engagement” with the international community, including the Philippines.
“The President conveys the Filipino nation’s solidarity with the UAE in this period of great loss and bereavement,” Malacañang said through a statement Wednesday.
According to the Palace, the Philippine leader’s sympathy message was personally conveyed to the Emirates through his special envoy, Secretary Robert E.A. Borje.
The federation’s late ruler died last week at the age of 73 after years of presiding over the country’s development since November 2004.
The ministry of presidential affairs declared 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast and work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.
Khalifa would be remembered even beyond the UAE for his “legacy of leadership, wisdom and benevolence,” the Chief Executive said.
His half-brother Sheikh Mohammed will assume the presidency after rulers in the federation of the seven emirates unanimously appointed him.
A crown prince of Abu Dhabi, he has served as the nation’s de facto leader since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014.