ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday met with United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in in Abu Dhabi and offered his condolences on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Pakistan PM's office said.
Sheikh Khalifa, who was the president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, died on Friday at the age of 73. On Saturday, the seven sheikhdoms that make up the UAE elected Sheikh Khalifa’s brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, as his successor.
While the UAE is observing a 40-day mourning period over his passing, Pakistan announced it would mourn for three days, until Sunday, with the national flag flying at half-mast in solidarity with the Gulf nation.
In his meeting with President Sheikh Mohamed and other members of the royal family, PM Sharif conveyed profound sympathies and condolences of the government and people of Pakistan.
"Pakistan and the UAE are bound by close fraternal relationship. Under the leadership of Late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the relationship between Pakistan and the UAE scaled new heights," PM Sharif's office said.
"He was a sincere friend of Pakistan. His invaluable contributions will be long remembered by the Government and the people of Pakistan."
The prime minister visited the Gulf state while returning from the United Kingdom (UK), where he spent the last few days to discuss Pakistan’s ongoing economic and political situation with the founding leader of his party Nawaz Sharif.
In a Twitter on Saturday, PM Sharif also congratulated Sheikh Mohamed on becoming the new UAE president, hoping relations between the two countries would continue to strengthen under his leadership.
“Heartiest congratulations to my brother @MohamedBinZayed on his election as new President of UAE,” he wrote on the social media website. “I extend best wishes to him and look forward to working together to further strengthen our multifaceted partnership.”
“Pakistan-UAE fraternal ties are destined to scale new heights,” he added.