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Canada mourns death of ruler of Ra's al-Khaimah in UAE

10-30-2010 08:53 BJT

OTTAWA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon expressed Friday condolences over the death of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the ruler of the Emirate of Ra's al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cannon said he was deeply saddened to learn of the passing on Wednesday, after several months of illness, of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, who was also a member of the Federal Supreme Council of the UAE.

Sheikh Saqr al-Qasimi, believed to be in his late 90s, had ruled Ra's al-Khaimah, one of the emirates of the UAE in the east of the Gulf, for more than 60 years, dating back to before the UAE 's inception in 1971.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sincere condolences to his family, to the Supreme Council and to the people of the Emirate of Ra's al-Khaimah," Cannon said in a statement. "Canada stands with the UAE in this time of national mourning."

He also extended wishes to Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who succeeds his father as ruler of Ra's al-Khaimah.

The 54-year-old crown prince son, Sheikh Saud, has been named as the new ruler of the northern emirate, the state news agency WAM reported, with the Supreme Council, made up of the rulers of the UAE's seven emirates, offering him their "full support."

Recently, Canada and the UAE has been involved in a high- profile diplomatic spat over Canada's refusal of increased landing rights access for the UAE's two state-run airlines.

The operational base in Dubai known as Camp Mirage, a key strategic transit base for Canada's logistic support to its forces in Afghanistan, will be closed to as of next Friday.

As a show of its anger, the UAE closed its airspace on October 11 to Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay, who had planned to make a transit stopover following visiting Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan during the Thanks Giving period.

The Canadian military is seeking "alternative locations" for a base to transport military personnel and equipment before its withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by next July.

In a Parliament hearing on Wednesday, Cannon, facing a grilling from opposition critics, replied that he has engaged directly with his UAE counterpart over the spat but in vain.

There have been other disputes involving Canada in recent months. Over the summer, the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia threatened to shut down certain BlackBerry services unless Canadian-based Research In Motion agreed to provide local authorities with the means to monitor communication on the devices.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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