Dubai ruler: 'Big goals will remain our objectives'

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By Andy Sambidge  www.arabianbusiness.com

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Tuesday that ambition would remain key to the UAE’s plans despite the impact of the global financial crisis.

POSITIVE MESSAGE: Sheikh Mohammed said on Tuesday that ambition would remain the ally of the UAE's future plans. (Getty Images)
POSITIVE MESSAGE: Sheikh Mohammed said on Tuesday that ambition would remain the ally of the UAE's future plans. (Getty Images)

In an address to the nation on the occasion of the 38th National Day of UAE, reported by news agency WAM, he stressed that “big goals will remain our objectives”.

“We will receive tomorrow a new federal year rallying around our leadership, becoming more certain of its vision and approach, more unified, integrated and dignified of our union and more proud of our country, more confident of ourselves, more experienced of our world, more capable to face challenges and overcome difficulties and more faithful about that there is no distant goal that we can’t reach and sublime position that we can’t conquer,” said Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of the UAE.

“Ambitions will remain the ally of our plans, big goals will remain our objectives, nobility of our nation and welfare of the citizens will remain the compass that guides us and orientates our work,” he added.

He said the UAE economy had “become stronger and more cohesive” and in spite of the impact of the global crisis, “the wheel of progress and achievement in our country did not stop turning”.

Spelling out his vision for the future, Sheikh Mohammed said: “We are determined to achieve the great renaissance in all areas, to get to the highest levels in education, to reach to the first place in the world with our infrastructure, facilities and services and to the best known practices in the world with the excellence in government performance.”

He highlighted recent achievements such as the completion of the first phase of the Dubai Metro system and Abu Dhabi’s successful bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

He said the latter was part of a “vision of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed to make UAE a global hub for the export of renewable energy technologies”.

Separately, Dubai’s ruler on Tuesday said the global reaction to the emirate’s planned restructuring of its conglomerate Dubai World showed a lack of understanding.

“We are strong and persistent,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters, according to Reuters. “They do not understand anything,” he said when asked about the global reaction to Dubai World’s standstill request and restructuring plans.

The issue raised concern about the health of the emirate’s economy as investors and creditors were assuming that the government would help Dubai World shoulder its obligations.

“It is the fruit-bearing tree that becomes the target of (stone) throwers,” he added, in an apparent reference to criticism of the emirate over the issue.

Dubai World Group earlier confirmed that its debt restructuring process related to a total debt of $26bn and would apply only to Dubai World, Nakheel and Limitless.

In a statement to update their lenders on developments relating to its debt obligations, the state-owned company added the process would not include Infinity World Holding, Istithmar World and Ports & Free Zone World (which includes DP World, Economic Zones World, P&O Ferries and Jebel Ali Free Zone).