The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed, in Abu Dhabi, January 30, 2022. RASHED AL-MANSOORI / AFP The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed, already considered the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, was elected president of the rich Gulf monarchy on Saturday May 14, succeeding his half-brother, Khalifa Ben Zayed Al Nahyan, who died on Friday at the age of 73. Mohammed Ben Zayed, known as “MBZ”, was elected by the Supreme Council of the Emirates Federation, the official WAM news agency reported. French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to pay tribute to the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Elysee Palace announced on Saturday. Consequence: the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, will not go to the Vatican as planned, the two heads of the executive cannot be outside the territory at the same time, specified Matignon. Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “MBZ”, the true strongman of the Gulf The French head of state intends to “express his support for his brother the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, [le] Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the rest of the family and all the people of the UAE,” the presidency said. Emmanuel Macron spoke Friday with Sheikh Mohammed, known as MBZ, half-brother of the deceased. The government of this Gulf country decreed on Friday “an official mourning and [que] the flags [seraient] put at half-mast” for a period of forty days. The portrait of the deceased president, rarely seen in public since the stroke he suffered in January 2014, was immediately displayed everywhere in the streets, institutions and even hotels of the emirate. Local media have also interrupted their programs to broadcast images and articles paying tribute to him. Economic boom Born in September 1948, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded his father, Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in 2004, president and founding father of the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy Gulf state comprising seven emirates, including Dubai and the capital, Abu Dubai. After the establishment of the federation in 1971, Khalifa Ben Zayed was appointed deputy prime minister, and then chaired the Superior Petroleum Council, a body endowed with broad powers in the energy field. Under the mandate of Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Emirates experienced rapid economic growth, driven by the oil wealth of Abu Dhabi, which concentrates 90% of the federation’s reserves, and the affirmation of Dubai as a center of finance, luxurious tourist destination and air transport hub. Like its president, the Emirates have nevertheless remained relatively discreet on the international scene, generally standing behind their great ally, Saudi Arabia, juggernaut of the Gulf and the Arab world, of which it remains the leading economy. According to observers, it was under the impetus of Prince Mohammed Ben Zayed that the country gradually emerged from its usual discretion, particularly since the 2010s, and gained growing influence in the Middle East and Africa. Abu Dhabi thus participates in military interventions against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and in Yemen, alongside the Saudis, to fight the Houthi rebels, close to Iran. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The conflict in Ukraine, revealing the discord between the United States and the Saudi camp Le Monde with AFP
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