World leaders praise contribution of Dubai’s Sheikh Maktoum

Tributes and messages of condolence continue to flood into the UAE from around the world, following the death earlier this month of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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By  Andrew White Published  January 15, 2006

Tributes and messages of condolence continue to flood into the UAE from around the world, following the death earlier this month of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “Sheikh Maktoum was an example of sincere national commitment. He placed his country’s interest over any other consideration,” said a statement issued by Dubai’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs. “Instances of the shining record and legacy of Sheikh Maktoum while serving his country are countless. His constructive role in establishing the UAE and enhancing its federal process and other fields of national action will remain engraved in the memory of the country and its people.” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received a phone call from Muammar Al Quadhafi, in which the Lybian leader offered his sincere condolences. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud also offered his sympathies, and was joined by, amongst others, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, and President Bashar Al Asad of Syria. Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, offered condolences on behalf of the Arab nations, and George W Bush, in a White House statement, paid tribute to “a friend and reliable ally of the United States and a generous contributor to international humanitarian causes.” The funeral, which took place last Thursday, was attended by a number of world leaders and foreign dignitaries. The mourners included King Abdullah II of Jordan, the crown princes of Qatar and Morocco, Kuwait’s deputy prime minister, Sheik Nawwaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah, President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council members and Rulers of the Emirates. The Duke of Gloucester, representing Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and the Royal family, and Dr. Kim Howells, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, representing the Government, attended the funeral and delivered condolence messages from the Queen and from Prime Minister Tony Blair to the Al Maktoum family and UAE leaders. Business leaders in the region were quick to pay their own tributes to Sheikh Maktoum’s achievements. “He was the cornerstone of the UAE’s foundation. Without his contribution, Dubai would not be what it is today – a major regional and business hub” said Hussain Al Nowais, chairman, Emirates Holdings and board member, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI). “He was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the people and the country. His death is a great loss to the nation.” Mohammed Al Ansari, managing director of the Al Ansari Exchange, hailed Sheikh Maktoum’s “immense” contribution to the nation. “A look at Dubai today is enough to show the vision, the strategies and the sound planning of Sheikh Maktoum and the other leaders,” he said. “He is responsible for putting Dubai on the international map.” Arvind Nair, chief operating officer of Jumbo Electronics, the UAE’s largest electronics retailer, also paid tribute. “Sheikh Maktoum had a great vision for Dubai and its people, and led the country towards the path of excellence and continued success,” he said. “Under his leadership, the country made remarkable progress on all fronts and is a strong force on the global map today.” A number of tributes also came from the world of racing, in which Sheikh Maktoum was a highly respected and popular figure. Ed Dunlop, trainer at the late Sheikh’s Godolphin stables, said: “He was a wonderful man to work for. There are so many fond memories. He was a big racehorse owner and a very successful one with lots of good horses.” Joe Mercer, a former champion jockey and racing manager to the Sheikh for the last 19 years, praised a man who “really enjoyed his racing.”

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