The United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a reassuring message on Sunday about the health of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan after he had surgery following a stroke, state media in the OPEC member Gulf Arab state reported.
“The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has reassured the kings and leaders of brotherly states as to the health of His Highness the president of the state, and said he is in a stable condition,” state news agency WAM reported.
The agency was referring to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, a half brother of Sheikh Khalifa who is also deputy supreme commander of the armed forces of the UAE, a federation of seven emirates at the southern end of the Gulf.
Sheikh Mohammed, 52, has for much of the past decade led negotiations on behalf of the UAE government in sectors ranging from energy and defence to investment, domestic politics and international affairs.
On Saturday, state media said Sheikh Khalifa had undergone surgery after suffering a stroke and was in stable condition.
Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa is known as a pro-Western moderniser who has ruled the UAE since the death of his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan in 2004.
He is also the ruler of oil-producing Abu Dhabi, the richest and most powerful of the UAE emirates, which also include Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain and Ras al-Khaima.
Abu Dhabi, operates a sovereign wealth fund that is one of the world’s biggest investors.
The UAE is an ally of the United States and has used its formidable foreign currency reserves to back the military rulers of Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood opposition.
It is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council along with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, and has a very large expatriate population. The UAE exported around 2.6 million barrels a day of oil in 2013, official figures show.