Biden congratulated his “long-time friend” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan on his election Saturday, just hours after his administration announced Harris’s plans to travel to Abu Dhabi to mourn his predecessor, who was also the new leader’s brother, next week.
“As I told Sheikh Mohammed yesterday during our phone call, the United States is determined to honor the memory of the late president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan by continuing to strengthen the strategic partnership between our countries over the coming months and years,” Biden said. “The UAE is an essential partner of the United States.”
Harris will arrive with a presidential delegation in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the third day of the three-day mourning period, when federal ministries, as well as public and private entities, will all be closed to pay respects following the Friday death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.
“In addition to honoring the memory and the legacy of Sheikh Khalifa, the Vice President will underscore the strength of the partnership between our countries and our desire to further deepen our ties in the coming months and years,” a Saturday press release read.
French President Emmanuel Macron is also expected to visit a day earlier.
Sheikh Khalifa’s vice president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai, also celebrated the recent election.
“We congratulate him and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him,” the leader of Dubai wrote. “The whole country is led by him to take it on the paths of glory and honor, God willing.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan was unanimously elected one day after his brother died. He was the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, but also became the UAE’s de facto ruler after Sheikh Khalifa had a stroke in 2014.
Upon Saturday’s election to a five-year term, the Federal Supreme Council called Sheikh Mohammed “a faithful guardian of the Union and its gains at all levels.” The council elects every president in accordance with the UAE’s constitution.