Harris Leads US Delegation to UAE to Give Condolences on President's Passing
© AFP 2022 / OLIVIER DOULIERY(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 13, 2022, US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as she meets with the leaders of ASEAN countries, members of the Cabinet, and other Administration officials to discuss climate action, clean energy, and sustainable infrastructure, during the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the State Department in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Vice President Kamala Harris led a delegation to the United Arab Emirates to offer condolences on the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and bolster the US-UAE relationship amid weakening ties, Harris' office said on Monday.
“In her visit with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President conveyed condolences on behalf of President Biden, the Biden-Harris Administration, and the American people,” the office said in a readout of the trip.
Sheikh Khalifa, who had been in office since 2004, died on Friday at the age of 73 after a long illness, prompting the UAE to go into a 40-day period of mourning, with flags flown at half-mast. Sheikh Khalifa was the eldest son of UAE founder Zayed Al Nahyan.
13 May, 10:24 GMT
Harris also congratulated Sheikh Mohammed on his election as new president of the UAE and underscored the Biden administration’s commitment to bolster ties and advance the interests of the US and Emirati people, according to the readout.
Sheikh Mohammed, who has been the de-facto ruler of the UAE for the past eight years, is the brother of the late Sheikh Khalifa.
The meeting comes amid efforts by the Biden administration to strengthen ties with Gulf Arab partners, who have so far been reluctant to take firm stances on the situation in Ukraine. The US-UAE relationship was also frayed by what the UAE saw as a lukewarm US response to Houthi missile attacks on Abu Dhabi in January.
The US delegation led by Harris also included a number of top national security aides and White House officials, as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and CIA Director William Burns.