DUBAI: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has said that the strong bonds of solidarity between the UAE people and their leadership are the true shield against any external attempts seeking to undermine the nation's ambitions for a future where the Emirates would be second to none.
Speaking on the occasion of the 46th National Day, Shaikh Mohammad said that the 46th anniversary of the establishment of the Union comes at a time the UAE has become more stable and powerful thanks to the noble legacy passed down through the years and shaped the vision of the Founding Fathers who instilled values of patriotism and love for the Homeland.
"The UAE is getting more prosperous over the years thanks to the tireless efforts made by our men and women who hold the name of the United Arab Emirates in high esteem in their hearts, translating their love for their nation in word and deed," he said.
"I seize the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to extend my heartfelt greetings to my brother, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, my brother His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and all my brothers, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates. God bless them all and support them to continue working for the supremacy of our Homeland and the social welfare and wellbeing of our people. I also extend my sincere greetings to our brave soldiers in the UAE Armed Forces - the shields of this nation who keep our national flag flying high in pride and dignity amongst world nations so that the UAE will continue to remain an oasis of security and stability, and maintain its sovereignty and safety."
Shaikh Mohammad added that naming 2018 the Year of Zayed "gives us an opportunity to reflect on the myriad accomplishments made by our Late Leader and Founding Father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, God bless his soul, whose centennial birth anniversary dawns next year on a land where he spared no effort to ensure stability and prosperity for his people."
He noted that the 46th anniversary of the Union comes at a time "when we can safely announce that the UAE has become among the world's most advanced nations. And as we have, over the past years, made strenuous efforts to create a culture of empowerment and finalise our ambitious capacity-building plans, today we are forging ahead toward a fresh phase, the headline strategy of which is "Emirates of the Future". We have already embarked on the UAE Centennial 2071 Strategy, which is a unique, future-oriented, long-term government plan aimed at sustaining UAE's development into its 100th anniversary, charting a path and laying a solid foundation for the future of the UAE. Our objective is for future generations in the UAE to lead happier lives in a thriving environment with abundant opportunities, more connectivity and global influence."
His Highness noted that many people think that "we are just dreaming. But we remind these people of the fact that our Union started as a dream at the hands of visionary people. The late Shaikh Zayed along with his brother, the late Shaikh Rashid, God bless their souls, initiated their drive based on a common dream that was founded on the principle of unity of objective and destiny and they were joined by their brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates, to make this dream come true and build a nation, the backbone of which is the determination of Emirati people who are the State's most cherished asset."
Shaikh Mohammad went on to say that the UAE dream of becoming the best is justified and verified by the advanced rankings boasted by the country across world competitiveness indexes and reports. "On the regional level, the UAE is the fastest growing country; our government performance is the most efficient; our services are the smartest; and we have ensured this kind of harmony between our advanced technologies, our production and wealth-creation systems in a way that does not negatively impact the cultural and humanitarian legacy upon which our blessed Union is based."
Shaikh Mohammad added that the UAE last year had blazed a trail in the world by establishing ministries for tolerance, happiness, future and youth out of a strong belief that no society can succeed without giving its human wealth its utmost care, attention and tools of empowerment. "On top of these tools is happiness, being a basic right for citizens. Happiness, as we interpret it, materialises when a citizen feels that his or her safety, dignity, home, future and land are being taken care of and protected and that his or her dreams and ambitions are achievable.
"Happiness, as a way of life in our society, has helped reinforce patriotic sentiments among the UAE people. And it is these strong bonds of solidarity between the people and their leadership that shield the nation against any external attempts aimed at undermining our hopes and dreams for a more sustainable future - a future where the UAE plans to become second to none."
The UAE has become a dreamland for everyone seeking a better life for himself, embracing tolerance as an inalienable cultural value, Shaikh Mohammad said, affirming that the nation can become home to any global citizen seeking to live in peaceful co-existence with other cultures and races within an atmosphere of mutual benefit and giving.
"And herein I'd love to relay a message to all nationalities living and working in the UAE: We truly cherish and value your significant contributions for the country to maintain its positive reputation and bolster its developmental drive. You're an integral part of the UAE social fabric whose power lies in possessing an ideal environment for multiculturalism."
Shaikh Mohammad added that youth are the country's true wealth who are spearheading the nation's drive to deliver the future, reiterating the UAE leadership's determination to provide youth with all resources to help them build the State of Tomorrow on solid, unshaken basis.
"As part of our Centennial Strategy, we have formed a new government that includes newly created portfolios, primarily Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Sciences and Food Security. We have to be well-prepared and ready to deal with major world trends at the technical, economic, intellectual and political levels. There is no room for waiting and complacency, and, as the UAE youth represent our future, we renew our strong belief in their potential and innovative ideas to take up the lead in charting a path for a prosperous future."
Addressing the UAE youth, Shaikh Mohammad said, "The road to the future is not smooth sailing; but by your strong will, determination and hard work, we will realise our ambitions and become best of the best, always and forever."