Posted 04 November 2004
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Ruler of Abu Dhabi since 1966 and President of the United Arab Emirates since its foundation 1971, died on 2nd November 2004 at the age of 86.
Sheikh Zayed knew the Armenians who had settled in the UAE since the fifties and the sixties of the past century. After the introduction of organizational life in the Armenian Community of the UAE (1979) and the establishment of the Prelacy of Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf Countries (1994) Armenians founded weekly schools in Sharjah and
In 1995 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan received H.H. Karekin I, Catholicos of All-Armenians on his official visit to the UAE. Seven years later (2002) President Robert Kotcharian visited the UAE and discussed with Sheikh Zayed ways of improving the Armenian-Emirati relations.
As Leader of the
He was a visionary leader and the principal architect of the
In less than a generation he managed to transfer the citizens of the UAE from poverty to riches, without losing to much of their culture.
He allowed freedom of worship to the foreigners who resided in the UAE. Sheikh Zayed always lived modestly and enjoyed traditional hunting parties with falcons and desert journeys to visit his people. He gave up hunting with rifles at an early age as a contribution to conserving wildlife.
In a politically unstable region, Sheikh Zayed was a model of stability and progress. A noted philanthropist, he believed oil wealth was a gift from God that should be shared with countries and people in need. Subsequently he channeled economic assistance to at least 40 countries on three continents.
Sheikh Zayed's statesmanship was tested by the negotiations leading to the creation of the UAE. He convinced the other six emirates that consist the UAE to join the Federation (1971). In 1981 he persuaded the five other
With revenues growing year by year as oil production increased, a massive program of construction of schools, housing, hospitals and roads rapidly got under way. By 2003 the population had grown from 200,000 to 2.3 million.
Sheikh Zayed was one of the first Arab leaders to offer support to
Sheikh Zayed supervised a program of desert reclaiming that has now seen more than 150 million trees planted. On the
His eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, born in 1947 succeeds as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. On 3rd November 2004 he was elected President of the UAE.
Combined Sources including British “Telegraph” of 4th November 2004.
Upper-Left Photo: President Kocharian visits Sheikh Zayed at his Palace in April 2002.