West News Wire: President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s wealthiest monarchs, has died at the age of 73.

Sheikh Khalifa has been the president of the United Arab Emirates since 2004, however his role has primarily been ceremonial since he suffered a stroke in 2014.

Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, his half-brother, is now in control of state affairs.

The al-Nahyan family is thought to be worth $150 billion (£123 billion).

Sheikh Khalifa was not only the president of the UAE, but also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the UAE’s seven emirates.

The official WAM news agency broke the news of his demise.

The ministry of presidential affairs declared 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast from Friday, and work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.

Sheikh Khalifa took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi.

In the first decade of his rule, he presided over a major restructuring of both the federal government and that of Abu Dhabi.

But after his stroke, he was rarely seen in public, although he continued to issue rulings.

President Joe Biden paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, saying he “was a true partner and friend of the United States”.

“We will honour his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” Mr. Biden said.

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Under the UAE’s constitution, the vice-president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, will act as interim president.

According to the UAE constitution, Vice-President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, will act as president until the federal council, consisting of the rulers of the seven emirates, meets within 30 days to elect a new president.


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