Statement of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on 41st anniversary of Armed Forces Unification Day

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has expressed his thanks and appreciation to the soldiers and personnel of the UAE Armed Forces on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Armed Forces Unification Day, saying that the armed forces have become a key player in the UAE's overall development, strengthening the nation's unity and identity.

Below is the full text of the statement made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Armed Forces Unification Day: "Dear brothers, sons and daughters, officers and soldiers of our valiant armed forces, May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you. I salute you on the anniversary of the decision to unify the UAE armed forces that took place on 6th May 1976.

On this anniversary, I extend my appreciation and gratitude to our forefathers and all that they have given to our country and nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers, members of the Federal Supreme Council.

I stand with you in honouring our righteous martyrs, and reiterate our commitment to ensuring the welfare of their families and provide comprehensive and lasting care for their children.

On this day, forty-one years ago, with the building of our armed forces, our federal state opened the widest possible horizons to consolidate its forces, strengthen its institutions and empower its citizens. This journey was not only a process of organisation, arming, training and rehabilitation, but also a strategic outlook so as to build the main axis to our nation’s strength.

In the midst of this strategic process, our armed forces have become a key player in the overall development and a symbol of national fusion that strengthens the unity of our home, deepens the contents of our UAE national identity, and strengthens our society as a whole.

As such, May 6th takes a special place in our lives, where it has fermented its place in history as the day where we ensured our right to self determination, to live in freedom and dignity in a proud nation, safeguarded by its sovereignty and commitment to security and stability.

Each year, the anniversary of the Armed Forces Unification Day gives us an opportunity to connect in our continued march towards building national capabilities that are in line with our nation’s edifice, ensuring its protection, security and stability. These capabilities are demonstrated in our nation’s superior models of recruits, as they are prepared to be leaders and master knowledge in various fields, whilst instilling loyalty and belonging to the homeland.

With the success of the national service programme among our armed forces, and the eager, enthusiastic commitment of our youth, emerges a generation that bears responsibility coupled with honour and pride of our nation’s character, engaging with the world with high moral values, great traditions, and positive attitudes.

Dear officers and soldiers, sons and daughters of the UAE, Ever since we have been on our country’s lands, we have faced some formidable challenges. From the days of our early ancestors, every generation has emerged as courageous Emiratis that have faced their challenges and overcome them.

In the era of our modern history, our founding sons have risen up and faced the challenges of fragmentation, weakness and underdevelopment. These challenges were overcome through the establishment of our nation’s union and the unification of our forces, forming the rules of our state and the overall UAE model of development, progress and urbanisation.

The process of building the armed forces was one of the greatest challenges we have faced. Our success in forming our national military cadres was based on our accomplishments across all fields of development, especially in the fields of public and military education. We have succeeded in meeting these challenges with distinction. Our UAE model is progressing in all indicators of comprehensive development, and our armed forces are at the highest levels of preparedness and efficiency.

Our men and women form the highest ranks as recent military school graduates. They are capable of running the most sophisticated, advanced weapons and electronic systems, and carry out their duties to protect our homeland in the battlefields with courage and discipline.

Under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a vibrant reality for our nation continues to grow, develop and compete in world markets. Through their wise leadership, our nation continues to provide for our armed forces' modernisation drive, promotes the diversification of our economy, and opens up new horizons for our children in the fields of scientific research and innovation.

And today, after years of challenges posed by projects and conspiracies to destabilise the countries of the Arab region, and the spread of chaos and violence within it, as Emiratis we continue to confront these challenges as part of our duties and responsibilities, ensuring our success in promoting development and prosperity.

Officers and soldiers, We salute the anniversary of 6th May and pay special tribute to our forces, which carry out their missions outside the borders of our country, embodying our principles in championing rights and defending the interests of our homeland. We are confident that our national security is inseparable from security in our region and the world. We participated in the Global Coalition Against Terrorism and the Arab Coalition to thwart the attempt to hijack Yemen, change its Arab identity and turn it into a base for threatening the security of Saudi Arabia, which is a vital part of the security structure of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the security of Arab states.

As the crisis in Yemen has entered its third year, the Arab Coalition is confident of its ability to achieve its overall objectives. Having accomplished strategic targets to thwart coup plans, the coalition has enabled legitimacy to return to Yemen, extending control over most of its territory, and aiding the country to rebuild in liberated areas. The coalition countries will continue their mission until the Yemeni people can decide their own future away from the terror, threats and intimidation of coup militants.

As for our nation’s participation in the fight against terrorism, the international coalition’s achievements continue to grow every day. We continue to fight terrorists, knowing that their demise is near, as their dark and sinister objectives run contrary to humane and religious thought across the course of history.

The inevitable defeat of the terrorists and their organisations will not end the battle with terrorism. These terrorists are a product of poisoned thoughts and futile policies that cannot see beyond their noses. There is no alternative but to engage in thought development and understanding and ensuring policy reform. This is a responsibility that is borne primarily by the Arab and Muslim countries, their governments, scientists, thought leaders and religious bodies.

Terrorists have committed the worst atrocities against civilians and, moreover, distorted the image of Islam and Muslims in the world’s public opinion, turning our Muslim community across the world, large or small, into subjects for racists and extremists to feed on.

Dear officers and soldiers, We are a nation that seeks the principles of peaceful coexistence, love, tolerance, and peace. But we live in a world governed by interests, whose big states scramble and compete for wealth and influence, rushing to seize and even create opportunities to maximise these interests. The current scene in and around our Arab region is witness to this stampede, competition and opportunity.

Therefore, the freedom, security and stability of small countries relies only on themselves to develop their sources of strength, and adopt prudent policies that improve preparedness, planning, calculation and implementation, keeping pace with continuous change and weaving the widest networks of friendship across the world.

The building of our own strength was the founding father’s greatest concern. The unification of the armed forces crystalised the national identity of the UAE and its stability deep in the hearts and minds of Emiratis. With the passing of the banner to the Empowerment Generation under the leadership of President Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, our strength has been the focus of our vision, strategies, plans, projects and initiatives.

Our investment in human resources, our early assimilation of the information and communications revolution, infrastructure development, our adoption of the knowledge economy, our keenness to develop government performance, our diversification of the national economy, our entry into the fields of military industries, precision industries, clean energy, and space science are all indicative of our pursuit to continue to build this great nation.

And you, the sons and daughters of the UAE, were at the core of our nation’s strategies to strengthen our forces, you are the means and you are the goal. You continue to have our leadership’s trust and qualify for its ambitions. We have made our small homeland and its population cohesive, safe and strong through your continued support of the leadership’s vision and policies.

Dear officers and soldiers, With the trust in God, and our peoples, our nation lives in grace and prosperity. We are shrouded in security and stability, and we believe that our best days are still ahead. We are certain that our hearts, minds, and hard work is what brings us here today, and it is our continued efforts that will secure the future of our homeland and our future generations.

We are poised to overcome any threats to our nation’s prosperity. We have proved time and again that there is no difficulty we cannot overcome.

As for you, who have received the honour of belonging to the military service, the leadership and people of the UAE thank both you and your predecessors. You are the pride of our nation.

You represent the spirit of our nation, the spirit of giving, belonging, loyalty and sacrifice. You bear a great responsibility at a time when the region and the world is disturbed with crises, and you have proven capable.

I thank each and every one of you, wherever you are, in your camps, on land, sea, or air, and in the battlefield. I ask the Almighty Allah to include you in his care, and perpetuate your success as soldiers on your missions.

I extend thanks, with you, on the day of our armed forces, to the leader of our mission, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

I also extend my greetings to my brothers, the Members of the Federal Supreme Council, the Rulers of the Emirates, may God protect them, and to all our honourable peoples.

Peace, mercy and blessings of God."

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