Federation is getting stronger, vibrant year after year: Khalifa

Says the country is reaping the fruits sowed by the forefathers

In an address to the nation on the occasion of the 39th National Day of UAE, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressed that the government was working hard to achieve social development, to improve quality of life and to realise its developmental goals through a comprehensive national vision that aims to provide excellent educational standards, adequate housing and world class healthcare services.

"On this auspicious day, we renew confidence in the strength, vitality and resilience of our economy which fully recovered from the aftermath of global financial crisis thanks to the country's stability and security and to the excellent government services, the modern infrastructure, the wise management of resources, the attractive investment environment, the advanced banking system, the promising industrial sector, and the strong foreign trade ties," Sheikh Khalifa said in a speech, published today by Diraa Al Watan magazine to mark the 39th National Day of the UAE.

The 2nd of December, the President said, will remain an auspicious day, a special occasion to draw lessons from and a great opportunity to pledge our allegiance to our beloved country.

Sheikh Khalifa paid homage to the late Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, describing him as one of the founding fathers who had contributed vigorously and faithfully to the building of the federation and strengthening its foundation.

He urged the citizens to seek perfection as a necessity of life.

"The perfection of work is a necessity of life. It is an essential element to continue the achievements of our forefathers, through which we can build a capable national workforce, restructure our economy, address the imbalance in the labour market and prepare a well-balanced and thriving community."

''As our nation is bracing for its 40th year of achievements, we assure you that we are moving from a strength to more strength, and that we are reaping the fruits sowed by our forefathers in terms of best practices, building the nation's institutional and legislative frameworks, enjoying a strong, diversified and free economy, a modern infrastructure, a sustainable social development, enhanced cultural and societal identity and most importantly, preparing capable and skillful human resources. Human resources are the true wealth of nations ''Our policy is based on the commitment to the principles of the UAE constitution. We have always advocated unity and solidarity to achieve the ultimate goal of modern and prosperous UAE.

Sheikh Khalifa said he was extremely proud of the achievements made by the UAE women who participate vigorously in public life and who are capable of playing more roles.

''The realization of development in the UAE in a future that is less dependent on oil requires focusing on new strategic sectors that utilise energy and resources in promoting highly competitive industries and services,'' the President added.

He went on to say; "We will continue our commitments emanating from hosting the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). With the same resolution, we will continue to develop a programme for the peaceful use of nuclear energy to meet growing energy requirements while providing rock-solid assurances of highest standards of safety, security, and operational transparency, and in full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other friendly and responsible states.

''The humanitarian diplomacy is one of the main pillars of our foreign policy. Our country will continue its pivotal role in support of the international efforts to confront crises and disasters and to heed cries for help,'' the President indicated.

Below is the full text of the speech: As we celebrate the 39th anniversary of federation and creation of our state, we proudly recall the deeds of our forefathers, praying for the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his departing brothers. We also wish those, who still illuminate the road ahead for us, good health and longevity. Their dedication, resolute and vision helped create the UAE we live in today in prosperity and security. In your name, I offer my warm greetings to my brothers Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates as they confidently and triumphantly lead the nation's march.

Our country lost this year the late Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed bin Salem Al Qasimi, one of the founding fathers who had contributed vigorously and faithfully to the building of the federation and strengthening its foundation. We ask Allah the Almighty to bless his soul, to grant him the highest bode in his heaven and to reward him for the great services he made to his country and to his emirate. We look forward to work with his apt successor His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

Dear fellow citizens, As our nation is bracing for its 40th year of achievements, we assure you that we are moving from a strength to more strength, and that we are reaping the fruits sowed by our forefathers in terms of best practices, building the nation's institutional and legislative frameworks, enjoying a strong, diversified and free economy, a modern infrastructure, a sustainable social development, enhanced cultural and societal identity and most importantly, preparing capable and skillful human resources. Human resources are the true wealth of nations. They are the foundation of any growth.

Since the inception of the UAE, keen efforts have been made to sustain this wealth through wise investment in mobilising national capacities of young people, upgrading their capabilities and nurturing the sense of belonging and loyalty in them, and engaging them in the management of the society and in preserving their heritage. The principles of federation will continue to guide the new generations towards a progress and towards an effective partnership for a brighter future. The 2nd of December will remain an auspicious day, a special occasion to draw lessons from and a great opportunity to pledge our allegiance to our beloved country.

Our policy is based on the commitment to the principles of the UAE constitution. We have always advocated unity and solidarity to achieve the ultimate goal of modern and prosperous UAE.

Dear citizens, the government is working hard to achieve social development, to improve quality of life and to realise its developmental goals through a comprehensive national vision that aims to provide excellent educational standards, adequate housing and world class healthcare services in a sustainable environment. It also seeks to offer a highly advanced social welfare system that enables citizens to face hardships and challenges of life, improve public services, to empower women, support young people, to protect and care for mothers and children, senior citizens and people with special needs.

Last year, the highest portion of federal budget had been set aside for education. We had our eyes fixed on educational programmes and plans for the development of education. We had issued a law creating the National Authority for Qualifications. The healthcare sector also enjoyed a considerable support.

In parallel with this effort, the government needs to give special and exceptional attention to the development of remote areas in a way that would guarantee a balance in social and economic development at the national level. Different projects are being implanted there. Various steps have also been taken to establish a rich cultural and social life that promotes equality of rights and duties among citizens and allows them to participate in the policy and decision making in full compliance with the norms and laws that are safeguarded by capable law enforcement agencies and a fair judicial system that fosters the respect for people's rights and dignity.

In order to enrich that, a national strategy must be adopted to care for the youth, to encourage sports and to promote youth centres and public libraries, to utilise spare times in useful activities, to develop the skills and to instill the culture of openness and acceptance to the others. It is also important to expand cultural activities and to encourage arts, science and intellectual creativeness. We are extremely proud of the achievements made by the UAE women who participate vigorously in public life and who are capable of playing more roles. The efforts being made to promote the culture of volunteerism deserve our commendation.

Dear citizens, on this auspicious day, we renew confidence in the strength, vitality and resilience of our economy which fully recovered from the aftermath of global financial crisis thanks to the country's stability and security and to the excellent government services, the modern infrastructure, the wise management of resources, the attractive investment environment, the advanced banking system, the promising industrial sector, and the strong foreign trade ties.

Aiming to achieve comprehensive development, the government will continue its quest for economic development, adopting strategic planning as a means and competitiveness as an end. It will also press ahead with the process of updating legislation, regulating the labour market, supporting Emiratisation and empowering the private sector, encouraging it to shoulder social responsibilities, to invest in national human resources, to adopt environment protection mechanism and to meet the needs of the society. We are committed to eliminate all difficulties facing this vital sector.

As you know, our economy is inseparable. It is founded on integration between the "federal" and "local", be it in planning or implementation.

The realisation of development in the UAE in a future that is less dependent on oil requires focusing on new strategic sectors that utilise energy and resources in promoting highly competitive industries and services. We will continue our commitments emanating from hosting the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency. With the same resolution, we will continue to develop a programme for the peaceful use of nuclear energy to meet growing energy requirements while providing rock-solid assurances of highest standards of safety, security, and operational transparency, and in full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other friendly and responsible states.

Brothers and sisters, the perfection of work is a necessity of life. It is an essential element to continue the achievements of our forefathers, through which we can build a capable national workforce, restructure our economy, address the imbalance in the labour market and prepare a well-balanced and thriving community.

The perfection of work is a responsibility that enables us to realize excellence, confront challenges and make a difference. Responsible nations do not exist in chaos and great civilizations are not built by mere coincidence. It is not possible to promote culture of perfection without deepening the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the motherland and without caring for the family which is the basis for the society and a means for ethical values that make good citizens. Perfection cannot be achieved without reforming the education policies and strategies and a knowledge-based system aspiring to develop human capital, well prepared to confront challenges and to cherish the country's unique culture, language and national identity.

A perfected work is the path to building competent human resources, capable of achieving sustainable development and well-equipped to thrive and compete.

Dear citizens, our foreign policy of our country is based on the principles of peaceful coexistence, good neighbourliness, mutual respect, promotion of cooperation, non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs, adopting peaceful approach to settle disputes, referral to international legitimacy, respecting others and resorting to talks to realise peace and security. Based on all that, we renew our calls to the neighbourly Iran to work on a fair settlement to the issue of our three occupied islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Mousa. We believe that honest intentions and strong determination to solve issues are the first step in ensuring regional security and stability.

The security of our country and our GCC affiliation is of top priority, while tampering with the security of any Arab country is seen as tampering with our own. Based on that, we pledged our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Bahrain and with Yemen and our support to their efforts in confronting attempts to destabilise their security and respective unity. We are also following with great concern the developments in Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and Somalia, pledging our support to all efforts aimed at reiterating legitimacy, imposing and preventing sedition, while promoting peaceful co-existence and dedicating efforts for reconstruction.

We, in the UAE, still believe that economic integration among the GCC countries is a strategic goal and a necessity in a world that witnesses creation of economic blocs. We look forward to the 31st GCC summit, which will be held in Abu Dhabi in the next few days, and hope that it will succeed in supporting the joint GCC action and to help achieve security, stability, progress and prosperity aspired by the peoples of the region.

Emanating from our commitment to peace as a strategic choice, we condemn the Israeli government's acts against Palestinian people and the inhumane siege of Gaza, as well as flagrant violations of the international law. We reiterate that there is no hope in a just and comprehensive peace without an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, including Jerusalem, Golan Heights and the occupied Lebanese territories.

On the regional level, we will continue our support to Pakistan which represents an essential element in maintaining regional security and stability. We will also continue our stand by the government of Afghanistan in its efforts to restore peace and security and to alleviate the plight of its people.

Emphasising our commitment to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction, we call for Israel's unconditional accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to subject its nuclear facilities to international inspections. We also urge Iran to continue cooperation with the international community to allay fears and doubts about the nature of its nuclear programme. We call on the parties concerned to reach a peaceful agreement on this file to ensure the security and stability in the region and its peoples. We renew our support to the developing countries' right to participate in the production of nuclear energy and its peaceful uses, under guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The humanitarian diplomacy is one of the main pillars of our foreign policy. Our country will continue its pivotal role in support of the international efforts to confront crises and disasters and to heed cries for help. We seek to maintain our image as a role model in administering investments and easy term loans to developing countries in a way that leads to a sustainable economic growth, provides stability and creates job opportunities to the citizens of those countries.

As we condemn terrorism in all its forms, we express our concern over the growing Islamophobia - or hatred for Islam. We urge the international community to exert efforts to prevent insults to Islam and to incite hatred against Muslim minorities. We stress the importance of adopting a unified stance on the climate change negotiations in a way that will guarantee rights of the peoples to secure their national resources and to protect the planet and life on it.

The international community is in need for a political will and an concerted international effort to face the challenges of maintaining peace and security, to realise full economic recovery, to achieve sustainable development, to reach Millennium Development Goals, to absorb the impact of natural disasters, to counter terrorism, to fight organised crime and drug-related activities, to achieve peace in the Middle East. We are fully prepared and ready to take part in these efforts.

Dear citizens, we are proud of our armed forces and our law and security enforcement agencies as we value the role they play in protecting the federation's achievements. We seek to modernise and develop our forces. We seize this opportunity to salute their personnel for their dedication in serving the country.

As we congratulate citizens and residents on this glorified occasion, we thank you all for the noble affections expressed and pray for Allah the Almighty to guide us to all to the best and righteous way and to protect our country.

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