UAE leader leaves country on rare trip since 2014 stroke

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 04, 2016 10:21 AM

RIYADH (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has left the country for a private trip abroad, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday, a rare report on the leader's movements since he suffered a stroke in 2014.

It did not give any details on where he was traveling or for what purpose.

The pro-Western modernizer and head of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the federation's seven emirates, has been president since the death of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, in 2004.

For much of the past decade, Sheikh Khalifa's younger brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, has led negotiations on behalf of the UAE in sectors ranging from energy and defense to investment and politics.

The UAE is an ally of the United States, a major oil producer and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council alongside Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Since last year it has played an important role in a Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting in Yemen, reflecting the Gulf country's growing role in Arab politics and its increasing military clout.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)