World leaders descended on the United Arab Emirates yesterday to offer condolences to new leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on the death of his half-brother President Khalifa bin Zayed.
Sheikh Mohamed, now ruler of Abu Dhabi emirate, steered the Gulf state, an Opec oil producer and regional business hub, for years before being named the UAE’s third president by a federal supreme council on Saturday.
French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country holds lucrative business and military ties with the UAE, told Sheikh Mohamed in Abu Dhabi that the UAE could “count on France’s friendship” and discussed the Ukraine conflict, the Elysee said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas travelled to the UAE to offer his condolences while Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due later in Abu Dhabi. Qatar’s Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani also visited and met with Sheikh Mohamed, the Qatari Amiri Diwan said, in a first such visit since 2017.
US President Joe Biden will be represented by Vice President Kamala Harris, due to visit today. Several Arab leaders paid respects on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, whose father King Salman entered hospital a week ago, sent a delegation.

A handout image shows India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu offering his condolences to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, at Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi.

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