DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) — The rulers of the United Arab Emirates announced Saturday the unanimous appointment of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as president of the hereditary government of the Arabian Peninsula nation.
The state news agency WAM reported that the leaders of the seven territories into which the country is divided made the decision at a meeting held at the Al Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi, after the death of President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 73 years, on Friday.
It is the third time that the nation, an ally of the United States, has changed its president since its independence in 1971.
The latest, in which Sheikh Khalifa succeeded his and Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, came after his death in 2004. The immediacy of Saturday’s announcement seemed to show unity and reassure the world about of stability in a country crucial for the production of oil and natural gas, which is also home to Western military troops.
WAM described the election as unanimous among the rulers of the seven territories, including the city of Dubai.
“We congratulate him and pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him,” Dubai leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter after the vote. “The whole country is led by him to lead him along the paths of glory and honor, God willing.”
The Emirates decreed three days of official mourning in which businesses will close and shows will be suspended in honor of Sheikh Khalifa. On Friday night, electronic screens in Dubai flashed the image of the late sheikh as flags flew at half-staff.
Gambrell is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.