UAE president in good health despite rumours

UAE president in good health despite rumours

DUBAI, July 7 - The president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, is in good health, his brother, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said on Monday, after speculation on social media about his condition.

OPEC member UAE, a key Western ally, is a major oil exporter and a regional financial, trade and tourism hub.

There has been speculation on social media in recent days about the health of the 66-year-old president, who underwent surgery after a stroke in January.

The WAM state news agency quoted Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, as saying his brother was"well and his health was good". "(Sheikh Mohammed) urged all to be careful and to seek accuracy when conveying information so that the use of modern technology and social media contributes to everything that is for the good of our society," WAM quoted Sheikh Mohammed as telling Emiratis.

Sheikh Khalifa has not been seen in public for months but state media regularly carry news of him conducting official business, such as issuing new laws or approving foreign aid donations.

Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa is known as a pro-Western moderniser who has ruled the UAE since the death of his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan in 2004.

He is also the ruler of oil-producing Abu Dhabi, the richest and most powerful of the UAE emirates, which also include Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain and Ras al-Khaima.

Abu Dhabi, operates a sovereign wealth fund that is one of the world's biggest investors.

Sheikh Mohammed, 52, has for much of the past decade led negotiations on behalf of the UAE government in sectors ranging from energy and defence to investment, domestic politics and international affairs.

The UAE is an ally of the United States and has used its formidable foreign currency reserves to back the military rulers of Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood opposition.

It is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council along with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, and has a very large expatriate population. The UAE exported around 2.6 million barrels a day of oil in 2013, official figures show.

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