UAE official offers assurances on leader’s health
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A senior official in the United Arab Emirates on Monday sought to reassure the country that the Gulf federation’s president is in good health despite suffering a stroke earlier this year.
Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was quoted by state news agency WAM as saying Emirati President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is fine and that information about his health shared on social media was just rumors.
Users of social media in recent days have called on Emiratis to pray for the president, who has not been seen publicly since he fell ill.
The UAE, a member of OPEC, is a Western-allied, seven-state federation that includes the capital Abu Dhabi and the Gulf commercial hub of Dubai.
Sheik Khalifa underwent emergency surgery after having a stroke in January. Little is known about the 66-year-old leader’s condition, which Sheik Mohammed called “stable and reassuring” in February.
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is named after the president. He became president of the UAE in 2004, succeeding his father Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan after his death. His father was the UAE’s first leader after it became an independent nation in 1971.
Sheik Mohammed is next in line to succeed Khalifa, his half-brother. He plays an active role in the day-to-day running of the country and of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates and the holder of nearly all of the UAE’s oil wealth.