In what ways are we seeing federal unity in the UAE today?

AL NAHYAN: As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UAE, we can’t but remember the person who was truly instrumental in establishing this federation, who has not only committed his own resources, but his personal effort, determination, commitment, perseverance, and the ability to navigate through the previous politics of our country. Before, there were different authorities and different sovereign entities and to graduate into a union today, where the union overrides local emirates' governments and they see that they are bonded to the same destiny, is truly impressive. We see each other’s security and survival as dependent on each other. That is the success of it and that is how Sheikh Zayed, God bless his soul, managed to achieve and create a unity which has lasted this long.

There were many obstacles in the way. There were many hardships that he had to endure and overcome and, as I said earlier, the personal financial commitment he made. When people were in doubt of the unity of this country and the continuity of that unity and the ability to stand and to survive, I remember he had one journalist, who asked him, “don’t you think that some of the emirates might opt to leave the union because now they are losing their power and authority in their own emirates?” Sheikh Zayed was holding a cup of coffee. He poured it into the sand and he said, “if you can extract that coffee from that sand then the emirates can disintegrate like that.” That is how much he was committed to keeping the UAE unified.

We should also not undermine the efforts and the commitments of the other leaders of the emirates who worked with him. They all realized that Sheikh Zayed was doing everything for their benefit before his own benefit. He was a gentleman in his desire to build a strong union and we have benefitted greatly from it and we have contributed to the stability of the region. We have become an integral part of this region and of the world. We participate in many issues in economics and society, not only in our country, but worldwide. So we came into maturity long before anyone expected us to do so and we have demonstrated that we stand with each other through thick or thin. We have shown the world that we are going to be together forever because the union is built on the strongest possible foundation. Sheikh Zayed’s soul will always be with the union and for that we will stay strong.