President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS Photo)

MANILA, May 18 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday sent his condolences to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the passing of president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Khalifa, 73, died on May 13, after battling illness for several years.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extends his deepest condolences to the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates on the passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,” the Office of the President (OP) said in a press statement.

The late UAE president was rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in January 2014.

Sheikh Khalifa’s half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been elected as the new UAE president.

The Palace said Duterte’s Special Envoy, Secretary Robert Borje, personally conveyed the Chief Executive’s sympathy message to Sheikh Mohammed, who has been serving as the de facto leader of the UAE before being named as the new ruler of the Middle East nation.

“The President conveys the Filipino nation’s solidarity with the UAE in this period of great loss and bereavement,” the OP said.

Duterte, Malacañang said, hailed Sheikh Khalifa’s “legacy of leadership, wisdom and benevolence.”

“The President said His Highness Sheikh Khalifa will long be remembered even beyond the UAE for his legacy of leadership, wisdom and benevolence,” it said.

Duterte also honored Sheikh Khalifa as “a bold visionary” whose leadership was crucial in the UAE’s sustained economic transformation.

He also acknowledged Sheikh Khalifa’s vital role in keeping a “deeper” engagement with the international community, including the Philippines. (MNS)

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