Several prime ministers and presidents continued to arrive in the United Arab Emirates from worldwide on Sunday, 15 May, to pay their condolences to the UAE’s late ruler. They also came to praise his heir, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has been elected as the country’s new president.
The first Western leader to reach the capital of Abu Dhabi was the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. He met Sheikh Mohammed on Sunday to pay his respects to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the nation’s long-ailing ruler, who died on 13 May, Friday, at the age of 73.
British PM Boris Johnson is also expected to come later Sunday to offer his tribute, along with other world leaders, including Isaac Herzog, President of Israel, after the two countries opened their formal relations back in 2020. American Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to arrive in UAE on Monday in an effort to show support after relations between the nations have recently strained.
Arab heads of state, involving close partners Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, visited the UAE on Saturday, 14 May.
Sheikh Mohammed has served his duty as the country’s de facto leader and as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi since Sheikh Khalifa had a stroke in 2014. He has managed to turn the small UAE into the most influential state, exerting outsized power militarily as well as commercially around the Middle East and Africa. Even when the nation came in the grip of a years-long crisis in Yemen and war in Libya, it positioned itself as a reliable partner in Western capitals.
In recent years, Paris and Abu Dhabi have become highly aligned, sharing a profound mistrust of Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood around the wider region, including Turkey and Libya.