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UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed dies

Dubai: UAE's long-ailing President and ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs said. He was 73.

The ministry announced a 40-day period of mourning and suspension of work in all ministries and the private sector for three days beginning Friday, including flags to be flown at half-staff.

"The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE, the official WAM news agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, India too announced one day of state mourning on Saturday following the demise of UAE President. According to a communication issued by the Union Home Ministry to all states and union territories on Friday, as a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, the Government of India has decided that there will be one day's state mourning on May 14 throughout the country. On the day of mourning, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment, the communication said.

Sheikh Khalifa was the eldest son of UAE's founder President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He served as the President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi from November 3, 2004. He was elected to succeed his father who served as the UAE's first president from 1971 until he passed away on November 2, 2004.

Sheikh Khalifa's role had been largely ceremonial since he suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in 2014. His brother and Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, has been widely seen as the de-facto leader of the UAE, handling day-to-day affairs for the Gulf state. Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was the second President of the UAE and the 16th Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed. Since becoming the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa has presided over a major restructuring of both the Federal Government and the government of Abu Dhabi.

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