Sheikh Khalifa, who was in office during a time of rocketing fortunes for the UAE but was rarely seen in public, was laid to rest in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Cemetery just hours after his death was announced, in accordance with Muslim tradition.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in this file photo from Monday, 5 February 2007. Credit: AP
His funeral prayers were conducted by his expected successor and half-brother Mohamed bin Zayed, who has long been viewed as the country’s de-facto ruler.
As tributes poured in from abroad, US President Joe Biden called Sheikh Khalifa “a true partner and friend of the United States”.
He had made few public appearances since 2014, when he had surgery following a stroke, although he has continued to issue rulings. The cause of death was not immediately released.
UAE Honor Guard pallbearers at the funeral prayer for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Friday. Source: AAP / EPA
The leaders of the seven emirates elect the UAE’s president for five-year, renewable terms, according to the country’s constitution.