In a statement published by Dira Al Watan Magazine on the occasion of the 37th Armed Forces Unification Day, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said yesterday that "The mastery of establishing a deterrent force, equipped with the latest equipment and military systems and technology, is the result of the preparation and implementation of modernised defensive and comprehensive programs which qualify the armed forces to safeguard the homeland and the unity of the community."
Following is the full text of Sheikh Khalifa's statement: "Commanders, officers, NCOs and soldiers of the Armed Forces, We are pleased, while we mark the 37th Anniversary of the Unification of the UAE Armed Forces, to greet and encourage you in your tireless efforts to improve your skills and qualifications to be able to serve your homeland and enhance its unity along with maintaining its material and human achievements, which makes the UAE state proud of its achievements in the field of security and stability.
The unification of the armed forces of our country was achieved in 1976 to form a pioneering step in the process of building the institutions of the state in all areas, whereby we have strengthened this unity in our national work through our commitment to the objectives of the founding leaders. They wanted this nation to be strong and we follow them and continue, with our brothers, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, to build the basic components of these forces as we have prepared and implemented modernised defensive and comprehensive programmes which qualify the armed forces to safeguard the homeland and the unity of the community. And we are committed to continue our work to provide all aspects of support to bring our armed forces to a decent standard, internally and externally, in the framework of an integrated defence strategy that aims to achieve excellence and to enable the armed forces to perform their national and humanitarian duties to the fullest.
My sons and daughters in the armed forces, We firmly believe that building strength means building peace and the best use of force is to achieve security , justice, political and community stability internally and to lend a hand and help brothers and friends externally. From this point, our armed forces have participated in international peacekeeping forces and campaigns to provide relief to areas stricken (by disasters) in a number of countries. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
On the 37th Armed Forces Unification Day, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has addressed the Armed Forces in a speech published in "Dira'a Al Watan" magazine.
The full speech text is below: Dear brave officers and soldiers, Sons and Daughters of our Nation, "It is a great pleasure to stand together once again celebrating 37 years since the unification of our Armed Forces on May 6th 1967. And a greater pleasure seeing the development of our Forces increase year after year, accompanied by our numerous achievements in all fields. We thank God who's guided us in serving our nation and our people.
My brothers and sisters, as we celebrate 37 years of UAE Armed Forces Unification, and with that we celebrate a nation-wide success that lives and grows with us. With this unification, the process of building our Armed Forces became a primary axis in the development of the nation and its people. It has also reinforced our experiences and capabilities and aided us in achieving our greatest goals, paving the way to sustainable development. This has solidified our national ideals and proved the competence and power of accumulating a large number of important achievements in finance, development and humanitarian fields. This unleashed the potential of our people and pushed the nation onwards among the ranks of success and modernisation.
As the safe sons and daughters of the UAE celebrate their Armed Forces, fully trusting its competence, readiness and deep affiliation with the country and the leaders, I call them to reflect on the path of growth that the Armed Forces walked down, and from that, take lessons as a very clear example of our nation's development.
To our sons and daughters who take pride in the UAE and feel blessed with the fruits of its development, I want you to remember that our path to where we are today was not paved with roses, but rather with challenges and difficulties. Our success would not have occurred if we hadn't taken it upon ourselves to carry the burden and face challenges head on, and seize opportunities with organised and incessant hard work. This stemmed from a vision that kept the interest of the nation and its people at its core, turning dreams into palpable achievements. Today in our Armed Forces, we see an example in which all elements of a sage leadership's vision exist, as well as all the requirements to achieve it with diligence and excellence.
The Unification of our Armed Forces was the second biggest challenge faced by our founding fathers after the first which was deemed "impossible": establishing the Union. Our fathers have overcome both, and founded the United Arab Emirates taking it to the furthest horizon. On this day 37 years ago the decision of Unifying the UAE Armed Forces was made, this agreement was an enormous achievement by the standards of our environment in the early years of our country. With this decision, our founding fathers raised our national political reality to the level of their hopes and aspirations of building a strong country, thus sending a message within the region and abroad that the young UAE possesses enough dynamism to set it's cornerstones and develop further.
The unification decision was nothing but the first step on a long road. God has bestowed upon me and my brother, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the blessing of being with our founding fathers in their early days of proceeding along road, and we were brought together by this mission of unifying and building our Armed Forces. We have seen the phases of its development and received valuable lessons in leadership and confronting challenges from its then Supreme Commander, the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
I remember Sheikh Zayed, may God bless his soul, telling us two weeks after the decision was made that what we had achieved with the decision was the easy part of the work that lay ahead. That conversation took place at the first meeting for the High Command of the UAE Armed Forces, chaired by Sheikh Zayed (RIP), at the High Command HQ on May 22nd 1976. At this meeting, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed was present as Deputy Chief Commander of Abu Dhabi Armed Forces, while I was present as Minister of Defence and Leader of Dubai Defence Force.
At that meeting, our Supreme Commander discussed with us his vision of a national modern army, and told us that he would personally see to the building process. He also stressed the importance of diversifying sources of arms importation rather than depending on a single supply. He also said that he looked forward to the day when our domestic production met part of our military needs, and ordered that more efforts be put in to preparing national military cadres and leaders. He also said that during his tours and meetings with tribal Sheikhs, he called on them to encourage their people to join the army and enrol in military schools, to which they readily agreed.
He instructed Sheikh Khalifa and I to hold weekly meetings to oversee Chief of Staff affairs, established under the unification decision.
During this meeting, and long after, we realised that the biggest challenge ahead would be preparing national cadres as soon as possible, as the human resources were scarce and the needs were manifold in all ranks. We were aware of the feasibility of arming our forces and finalising military establishments within a few years, unlike preparing the cadres, leaders and high rank formations which required a lot of time. But necessity was strong, and so the formation, education, and training programs was a race against time to finally see batches of graduates in all forces, and all ranks from the bottom to the top.
Here we are today, enjoying the fruits of our epic challenge in building our national army. Here are our children competently leading our armed forces, occupying all ranks and operating the latest military machinery and sophisticated technology. These are Sheikh Zayed's children and the heart of his vision made a reality; a national army of the highest organisation, readiness and discipline. World-class military institutes, and a modern military infrastructure. Our weapons are imported from various sources including our own domestically manufactured arms which meet part of our domestic needs and are also exported to other countries.
Our Armed Forces are a shining example of our national action that places the Emirati national at its heart and goals. The modern organisation of our army and its modern arms were both in synchronisation with building national cadres and forming leaders. Now, as a result, we have successfully and nationalised all ranks, weapons and specialties in a short time. We have achieved this simultaneously in all national action fields, notably the police force and public security. Now we see this development in the rest of our bodies and organisations as we rely on God's blessing and the enthusiasm of our youth to continue into the future.
Dear Officers and Soldiers, You have earned the honour of being part of the army, and you have proved with your loyalty, competence, discipline and excellent execution of your tasks that you are worthy of this honour. I want you to remain as we have always seen you; loyal to your oath, faithful to your promise and always up to date with your arms and training. Life is a learning journey, knowledge is power, and readiness is key to diligence and excellence.
I also want you to remain as I have always seen you, always alert, physically fit and mentally ready, with your arms and equipments fully prepared. We are destined to live in an ever-changing world that knows neither eternal friendships nor eternal animosities, but rather eternal protection of interests. We are destined to live in a region wounded from wars, conflicts, illusions and miscalculations. As much as we have faith in our pacifist methods and strive for good relations with the rest of the world, we need to be strong and ready to protect our sovereignty and independence, preserving peace and stability for our people. Weakness and softness lure those who wish to own our power, against which we should be always ready.
Dear Officer and Soldiers, dear citizens, We have earned our right to be proud and celebrate the power of our Armed Forces, its commitment to protecting the nation, and preserving peace, but before that we owe it on this day to thank those whose efforts built our Armed Forces and security establishments. And today I remember with you in all respect our father, teacher ,founder and first Supreme Commander, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his colleague the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and all their brothers the founding fathers, may they all rest in peace.
I also would like to thank with you His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander, as we admire his wise leadership of our country and his crucial role in building our Armed Forces since its early days, along with his efforts in developing them. This role will always be alive in the memory of our country and our people, and will be written in our history on its brightest pages to teach our sons and daughters and generations to come about wisdom, loyalty, noble values, and unlimited giving to one's land.
Also on this occasion I salute His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who spent his youth among the ranks of our Forces and lead from within their development, arming and formation of their cadres and leaders. To this day Sheikh Mohamed still oversees this development and all its affairs and needs in order for it to remain forever the nation's shield and sword and fortress.
And to you, officers and soldiers, and your colleagues who preceded you on the fields of heroes, my congratulations and gratitude to all of you, as you have given this memory an eternal life and glow.
I wish you continuous success, onwards and beyond." Salam Alaikum. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has stressed that the development and modernisation plans that the Armed Forces is working on implementing is part of the march of comprehensive development being made by the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
On the occasion of the celebration of the Anniversary of the Unification of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed said that the 6th of May was a paradigm shift, which will remain a witness to the depth of the strategic vision for our founding fathers as well as proof of our strong will and determination which is a milestone for nation-building and achievements.
Sheikh Mohamed issued a statement to Dira'a Al Watan magazine on the 37th anniversary of the Unification of the UAE Armed Forces and the following is the speech in full of Sheikh Mohamed : "Today we celebrate the 37th anniversary of the unification of the UAE Armed Forces which had and will be a symbol of loyalty, belonging and union, as well as a milestone to enhance the national identity and an industry of men and pride of the nation and citizens. The Unification of our Armed Forces in May 1976 under one central leadership, one flag, and one slogan was a historical decision so as to became a milestone for the security of our country and its stability and a key support to preserve the progress of development and modernisation in our dear country.
The Unification of our Armed Forces is considered as one of the achievements that expressed deeply on the will of unity, the strategic vision, that came from the efforts of the founding leader, our late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brothers who were leaders of the UAE at that time and became a national institution over the years, a unique model, reflecting the meaning of belonging, loyalty and unity, cohesion and strength of the social fabric and components of our national culture and ancient civilisation .
The 6th of May will be a source to benefit from its lessons in our life and to remind our new generation of the efforts of loyal men who offered great sacrifices for the building of our country's institutions and the Unification of our Armed Forces, which advanced to levels where we are proud of technical progress and training.
Sheikh Mohamed continued, "When we recollect this day, we may be proud of what has been achieved over the past thirty-seven years and we have also the right to encourage men of our Armed Forces who have made tremendous contributions to the Federal development march through the efforts of this prestigious institution and its honourable national roles and its contributions in supporting security and stability in brotherly countries, besides preserving peace, security and stability and provide support along with humanitarian relief in various regions of the world under the umbrella of the United Nations to be an example through excellence in carrying out these tasks.
Ideals and role models in our Armed Forces are of the noblest respective roles of modern armies, as members of our Armed Forces offer through their duties a bright image and a real model for the youth of the UAE and for such moral and humanitarian causes that has characterised our society.
The development and modernisation plans that the Armed Forces is working on its implementation is a part of the process of comprehensive development being made by the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Our achievements of development need a shield that protects and preserves them in order to achieve the desired goals through modernisation and development plans, both at the level of scientific training of individuals in the forms required by modern military science or the supply of armament systems and combat equipment to keep pace with the latest technology of the world's defence industries.
Thirty-seven years ago, the unification of the Armed Forces occupied the top priority of planning and efforts, bearing in mind that people are our greatest asset and our best investment for the future, and believe that the gains that we have made - and continue to make - were primarily designed to achieve the aspirations of our dear country.
This day is also an occasion to renew the covenant and loyalty to our wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces that to remain loyal soldiers, to protect the soil of this country, its sky and waters, and preserve the foundations of our nation united, working hard to keep our Armed Forces as a shield to protect the homeland as well as a symbol of national cohesion and the performance of duty, to carry out its responsibilities and remain supportive of brothers and helpful to friends and realise that belonging to this prestigious national institution remains always an honour, a duty and a right for all citizens.
In conclusion, I am honoured in my name and on behalf of the Armed Forces to congratulate President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and to their brothers, Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates. I also congratulate the people of the UAE on this glorious day, praying to Allah to preserve our state, to remain always as a symbol of pride and progress, development and prosperity." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Staff Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, said that the 37th anniversary of the UAE Armed Forces Unification embodies the will of Emirati people as outlined by the founders of the Union.
He told Dira'a al-Watan Magazine (Nation Shield Magazine) that the decision of Unification of the Armed Forces on May 6th, 1976, was a qualitative shift to the Union as it consolidated the position of the UAE in the region.
"When we mark this glorious anniversary, we remember the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for his great efforts to establish the Union, Unification of the Armed Forces and the development of the Armed Forces in terms of the armament, military philosophy and tactics", Lt. General Hamad said.
He added that there was inevitable correlation between the building of a military force and its development as they represent true guarantees for balanced comprehensive sustainable development, noting that this strategy interacts organically with the security and peace of the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States (GCC), the Arab nation and the world as well.
Lt. General Hamad quoted His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces as saying, "The development and huge achievements of the UAE Armed Forces throughout the years were not accidental, but were attained through perseverance. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been overseeing all the phases of building the UAE Armed Forces." He hailed the efforts of the Armed Forces, urging them to continue pledging their allegiance to the leadership and the country, as well as acquiring more expertise in terms of technology and armaments.
The Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces greeted the UAE President, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Members of The Supreme Council, Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince on the occasion of the UAE Armed Forces Unification Anniversary.