Heads of State arrive in the UAE following the death of former leader Sheikh Khalifa and to meet with new President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The new president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, as other world leaders continue to arrive in Abu Dhabi to honor his late brother, the former ruler.
Macron, who was re-elected this month, expressed his condolences to Sheikh Mohammed after the death of his half-brother Sheikh Khalifa, who died on Friday after a long illness.
Several Arab leaders, including Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, came on Saturday to pay tribute. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, whose father King Salman was admitted to hospital a week ago, has sent a delegation.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is also expected to be in the UAE on Sunday, as are Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
US President Joe Biden, whose government has strong ties to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, will be represented by Vice President Kamila Harris, who is due to visit on Monday.
Sheikh Mohammed, the longtime de facto ruler of the UAE during Sheikh Khalifa’s illness, was chosen to lead the desert state in a unanimous vote by the leaders of the country’s seven emirates on Saturday.
Often known by his initials MBZ, he took a leadership role after Sheikh Khalifa withdrew from public view in 2014 when he underwent surgery following a stroke. His cause of death was not released.
Both Macron and Johnson are making their second visits to Abu Dhabi in recent months. Johnson’s visit in March failed to convince the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to pump more oil after Russia’s war in Ukraine caused turmoil in markets.
The UAE’s relations with the United States have become strained under Biden, with the two sides at odds over Abu Dhabi’s close ties with Russia and Washington’s reopening of nuclear talks with Iran, long accused by the United States. of the Gulf to create regional chaos.
The wealthy United Arab Emirates have emerged as leaders of a reshaped Middle East, forging ties with Israel and joining a Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.