Khalifa congratulates U.A.E. people on 42nd National Day, approves AED 20 bn for development projects 2nd add

WAM Dear citizens, On this day, we express our appreciation of and acknowledge the value of the “‘Flag Day” initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for its role in upholding the symbol of our Union, which serves as a headline for our identity, confirming our unity and vision, as well as instilling the meaning and connotations of patriotism into our sons and daughters. We pledge to Allah that we will keep the Union strong and majestic and its flag fluttering high. We also praise the institutions established under our Constitution and the federal and local authorities for shouldering their responsibilities towards the nation and the citizen, for their intelligent outlook for the future in adopting excellence, leadership and planning to address the current challenges by finding solutions that fit the nature of our society and its lifestyle, and for launching diverse initiatives with the aim of promoting the values of social solidarity and cohesion, of increasing participation of nationals in the labour market, and in generating sustainable job opportunities in all emirates in a true partnership with the private sector.

We also commend the continuing efforts to reform the local labour market by removing the obstacles hindering progress of Emiratisation which limit the participation of national professionals in it. We express our appreciation of the measures taken to restructure industry and business sectors to enable them to move from the phase of a labour-intensive dependence to a phase where productive processes are driven by knowledge, advanced technology and a qualified workforce. We also applaud the plans that have been announced for diversifying sources of renewable and alternative energy and for the adoption of a unified and comprehensive national strategy on emergency, crisis and disaster management that enhances the resilience of the nation and community alike and builds on and increases their capacity to respond to risks and mitigate their impact.

Within the context of our keenness to achieve happiness and welfare for citizens, we have decided to allocate additional AED 20 billion for funding works and projects under the initiatives we have launched to achieve the aspired standard of welfare to our citizens. In recognition of the maximum priority of housing as a stepping stone for a decent and safe life, we launched our initiative to build 10,000 houses for citizens in various emirates to deliver justice, equality and welfare. We also instructed the government to immediately implement this initiative and secure the necessary funds to complete it.

We also decided to raise the housing assistance the citizen gets from the Zayed Housing Programme from AED 500,000 to AED 800,000.

Our appreciation also goes to the federal government for earmarking over 50 percent of the Union budget for the social sector in the fiscal year 2014, to develop and upgrade education, health, labour, social and Islamic affairs, culture, youth and community development, the Zayed Housing Programme, and other social benefits.

Dear citizens, Experiment has proven the feasibility and soundness of the approach we have pursued over the last decades, to which we will continue to adhere. We will also remain committed to an independent, flexible foreign policy whose ultimate goal is to serve national interests, to safeguard the sovereignty of the State, to strengthen the framework of the GCC as it moves towards a fully-fledged integration and to consolidate cooperation with Arab countries and regional alliances for building a regional and international environment based on peace, stability and mutual trust. We will continue this policy, committing ourselves to combating terrorism and extremism, to seek to resolve conflicts through peaceful means, to engage in international efforts for conservation of the environment and to contribute to the forging of a more just and fair international order.

This policy has enabled our State to maintain close ties with brotherly and friendly countries, to earn an prominent international stature and maintain a strong presence in international and regional organisations, to host international institutions, organisations, and conferences, and provide development and humanitarian aid, cherishing the legacy of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made the humanitarian dimension a true part of the UAE’s foreign policy. We will also continue to call for peace, development and cooperation, appreciating and valuing highly the GCC and Arab support for the UAE’s historic and legitimate right to its three occupied islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb, asserting that the only way to resolve this issue through direct negotiations or international arbitration that strengthens the opportunities for security and stability in the region.

At the same time, we welcome the initial agreement between Iran and the P5+1 world powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme and we also express our hope that the agreement will represent a step that paves the way for a permanent agreement that preserves stability of the region and wards off tensions.

It is no secret that we are deeply concerned about tensions that are being experienced in the region, which have promoted sedition and which have fuelled spells of extremism, terrorism and violence. At the same time, we highly appreciate and value the positive presence and fruitful activity of our diplomacy in defending our national choices. Amongst these are the advancing of the progress of the GCC, advocacy of just Arab causes, of which the key one is the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state with the holy city of Jerusalem as its capital, and support for meaningful initiatives to enable Egypt regain its Arab leading role, as well as the restoration of peace to Syria, calm to Tunisia, security to Libya, stability to Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and other countries, as well as advancing the efforts being made to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction and increasing pressure on Israel to comply with international and legitimate resolutions on its withdrawal from all Arab occupied territories.

On this spectacular occasion, we salute the commanders of our Armed Forces and police and security agencies for their dedication in discharging their duties of preserving order and security and promoting tranquillity as well as for their efforts to upgrade our nation’s defence and security capabilities. We also pledge the continuation of our persistent effort to further develop their capabilities, to modernise their equipment and to ensure delivery of comprehensive care to them and their families. We would like also to thank expatriate residents from brotherly and friendly countries for their commendable role in our development.

Dear citizens, What has been accomplished over the past 42 years has been an exceptional and phenomenal achievement in which you all have participated, while being consistent and united in your confidence that tomorrow will be definitely better than today as the present is better than the past.

We pray to Allah to make us grateful servants, to guide our steps to the right path, to aid us with strong will and to instill a fervent vibrancy in our people.

May Allah grant you success and may you all be well every year.

WAM/TF-PH WAM/TF

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