Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (right), the founding father of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai (left). Image Credit: Twitter/ Courtesy: @HHShkMohd

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, commemorated two of the country’s founding fathers on Sunday – as February 18 marks the Union Accord.

In a series of tweets, Shaikh Mohammad, said: “February 18 marks the historic day of our nation. Fifty years ago on February 18, 1968 and in two tents in the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid agreed to set up a state and invited the rest of the UAE to join from where they started from there.”


"February 18 is a historic day in my beautiful country. I was there and I saw a meeting of good intentions with high ambitions in a tent without any beds. I heard Rashid say to Zayed, ‘you are the leader’. And thus Zayed was the president, father and founder. And the eternal leader of this state. Zayed did not ask for the presidency. But he was summoned by history to build a nation and a state."


"Fifty years is nothing in the age of a nation. However, with Zayed, every year was like 50 years in terms of progress for our nation. May both Zayed and Rashid rest in peace." 

"Today, the nation looks back and remembers this memory, so we do not forget our beginning and never to forget our good intentions. We need to be aware that we started from the desert and now we have reached into space. And we will continue working towards our people's happiness and prosperity," said Shaikh Mohammad.

Historical significance

In 1968, the British Government, under pressure from adverse economic conditions, announced its intention to the terminate all its treaties protecting the Trucial States and to withdraw its forces from the Gulf by the end of 1971.

While the decision threatened to create a military and political vacuum in the area, it also helped to reduce the obstacles and difficulties that hindered the earlier attempts to unify the UAE.

A document from the National Archives at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs explained that, “the prospect of ending the special relationship that had existed between Britain and the Trucial States for one hundred and fifty years set in motion the process of achieving some form of association more formal and more binding than that represented by the Trucial States Council."

It was then on February 18, when the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, along with Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, were encouraged to start the first move towards establishing a federation. 

“This was a historic meeting at Al Sameeh on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid agreed to merge their respective Emirates into a union and to jointly conduct foreign affairs, defense, security and social services and to adopt a common immigration policy,” according to the UAE’s National Archives.

This agreement eventually became known as the Union Accord and may be considered as the first step towards uniting the Trucial Coast as a whole.

In order to further strengthen the federation, Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid also invited the Rulers of the five other Trucial States, as well as Bahrain and Qatar, to join in the negotiations for the formation of a union.