US President Joe Biden has congratulated the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on his election as the country’s president on Saturday following the death of his half-brother.
“I congratulate my longtime friend, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on his election as President of the United Arab Emirates,” Biden said in a statement, adding that he looked forward to working with the leader “to strengthen the links between our countries and peoples.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Monday to lead a presidential delegation “and offer condolences on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration and the American people” following the death of former President Sheikh Khalifa, his office said in a statement. statement on Saturday.
In Abu Dhabi, Harris will meet Sheikh Mohamed and “underline the strength of the partnership between our countries and our desire to further deepen our ties in the months and years to come,” the statement said.
Sheikh Mohamed, 61, a trained soldier, has long been a quiet power behind Abu Dhabi’s throne, analysts say.
He played a prominent role after his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa faded from public view in 2014 when he underwent surgery after a stroke.
After Sheikh Khalifa’s death on Friday, Sheikh Mohamed was unanimously elected by the Federal Supreme Council, which is made up of the rulers of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. He was also named ruler of Abu Dhabi, which controls most of the country’s oil wealth.
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