The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday at the age of 73, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced.
The ministry also confirmed that there will be 40 days of official mourning with flags across the UAE drawn at half-mast and the work of all UAE ministries.
It added at the federal and local levels, as well as those of the private sector will also suspend work for three days, starting from Friday.
No official word is given yet on the cause of death.
However, in a statement, the ministry expressed its condolences to the people of the UAE and the Arab nations “on the death of the leader of the nation and the guardian of its journey.
Condoling UAE, Israeli president and prime minister, Isaac Herzog, said “Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries”.
“His life’s work pushed the Middle East to new horizons of prosperity and cooperation,” he noted.
Herzog made a historic visit to the UAE in January, the first time for an Israeli president to pay an official visit to the Gulf country.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted in Arabic that “the great legacy and giving of the late Sheikh Khalifa have been greatly appreciated in Israel.
He said the state of Israel stands with the UAE in these difficult hours.
Bennett has visited the UAE in December 2021, the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister to the Gulf state.
Israel and the UAE established ties in 2020.
Since then, the two countries have cooperated in various fields and gained momentum in advancing economic and trade ties.