Sheikh Mohammed recalls meeting which paved way for UAE
"The meeting was with another wise man, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, my second father, teacher and leader for four decades."
In this chapter, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recalls the beginning of the Union. He witnessed a meeting in the middle of the desert between Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid in 1968 that paved foundation of the UAE.
Everything has a beginning and life taught us that it will have an end. But great dreams that have a beginning would never see its end.
My father summoned me from Britain in 1968 to attend an important meeting. He told me to get prepared to stay a whole day in the desert and also asked to arrange a meeting in the desert, far away from the eyes of stalkers or evil persons.
The meeting was with another wise man, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, my second father, teacher and leader for four decades.
The meeting was aimed at setting rules and a frame for a union between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with a chance to be joined by other emirates. I went to the northern area to set a place for the meeting. I pitched two tents.
The two Sheikhs arrived to the tent, accompanied by two or three persons and entered the northern tent.
It was on February 18, 1968, when the foundation of the United Arab Emirates was established.
The leaders agreed on one flag, one health system and one education system.
What happened in the northern tent that day was something rare in the Arab states, and won't happen again in decades. Zayed demanded that Rashid should be the president of the Union, but Rashid smiled, moved the rosary in his hand and said: You are the President!
By the end of the meeting between Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid, they announced the establishment of the union between the two emirates.
My father was really happy about the great achievement. After that, he started to look tired.
After a long silence in our trip from Arqoob Al Sedrah, where they held the meeting, my father said: "Mohammed! The recent union needs protection from many enemies - inside and outside - we agreed to establish a federal unit to be responsible for defending and ensuring the domestic security. Mohammed! I want you to be responsible for protecting the union."
In what he is calling his "incomplete biography", His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has broken his latest book, Qissati (My Story), into 50 chapters, narrating 50 stories in his 50 years of serving the nation. Khaleej Times got a signed copy of the book from the Dubai Ruler and everyday, we will be featuring excerpts from each of the 50 chapters.
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