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Dubai: Veteran politician and statesman Adnan Pachachi passed away on Sunday. He was 96. The UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs released a statement mourning his death. An Iraqi politician and diplomat, Pachachi was born on May 14, 1923 in Baghdad, the son of prominent politician Muzahim Al Pachachi. He was appointed Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1959, during the rule of Abdul Karim Qasim, and was then made Minister of Foreign Affairs under Abdul Salam Aref.

He graduated from the American University of Beirut and then pursued his postgraduate at Victoria College, which was back then a British-style public school in Cairo.

“We lost today a very dear man and a faithful friend, who worked with Sheikh Zayed devotedly since the very beginning of the Union…With his experience, dedication and noble stands, he contributed to communicate the UAE’s voice to the world. May Allah rest the soul of Adnan Pachachi in peace and grant his family patience and solace,” His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Pachachi sought a strong civil society, the revitalisation of institutions and the strengthening of independent judiciary. He rejected sectarianism and ethnic divisions, and upheld the concept of citizenship in which all Iraqis feel equal in rights and duties, with no difference between them because of religion, sect or ethnicity.

After the fall of Saddam Hussain’s regime, he assumed the rotating presidency of the Iraqi Governing Council in January 2004 and also chaired the Iraqi parliament, being the oldest member.

He was out of Iraq when the Baathists overthrew Abdul Rahman Aref’s regime in the July 1968 coup, and decided not to return. He worked with the Iraqi opposition, where he was a prominent member. He joined Abu Dhabi Government and attended the signing of the UAE Constitution and the Declaration of Independence

Pachachi, who held the Emirati citizenship, joined the Iraqi opposition several months before the fall of the Iraqi regime. In 2003, he founded and spearheaded a political formation called the Assembly of Independent Democrats, which broke up two years later.

Several political parties opposed his nomination to the post of interim president. During the 2010 elections, Adnan Pachachi stood for election, as part of the Iraqi List, led by Eyad Allawi, but failed to win.