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UAE elects new president

The UAE's long-time de facto ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as president on Saturday. The move comes after death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed on Friday.

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected Saturday as the new president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the state news agency WAM reported.

“The Federal Supreme Council elects Mohamed bin Zayed as UAE President,” WAM said in a brief Twitter post.

The move came one day after UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died Friday at the age of 73.

For his part, UAE Vice-President Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum pledged allegiance to the incoming president.

“Today, the Federal Supreme Council elected my brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as President of the State,” bin Rashid, who is also the ruler of Dubai, posted on Twitter. “We congratulate him, and we and our people pledge allegiance to him.”

French President Macron to visit Emirates

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a trip to the United Arab Emirates to mourn the death of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and display his support for the ruling family, with whom France holds lucrative business and military ties.

Macron will travel to the UAE on Sunday, his administration said in a statement, to pay tribute to Khalifa, who died on Friday, and “express his support to his brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the rest of the family, and the entire Emirian people”.

Read more: France to send Rafale jets to protect UAE airspace

Khalifa, UAE president since 2004, was a pro-Western moderniser who had aligned the Gulf Arab state more closely with the West, but had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014. He was buried and funeral prayers were held on Friday.

Major oil producer UAE is seen by France as a strategic partner in the region, and business ties, which include the delivery of military equipment and energy infrastructure, have been reinforced under Macron’s first presidential term.

During a high-profile visit to Dubai in November, Macron displayed a good relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed, the country’s de facto leader, and business delegations from both states signed a series of major deals.

Read more: PM Shehbaz to visit UAE on death of President Nahyan

The UAE ordered 80 of Dassault Aviation’s (AM.PA) Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters through an arms contract worth 17 billion euros ($19.20 billion), which the French say will secure thousands of local jobs.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk