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Sheikh Khalifa, UAE leaders greet King Hamad on Bahrain's national day

ABU DHABI // Leaders of the UAE congratulated King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and his people on Bahrain’s national day.

President Sheikh Khalifa sent a congratulatory cable to King Hamad, while similar greetings were sent by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the Rulers of other emirates.

Sheikh ­Mohammed bin Rashid tweeted: “Bahrain is the historical, geographic and cultural heart of the Gulf. We share their joy on Bahrain National Day. Congratulations to Bahrain and His Majesty King Hamad on the occasion of their national day. Your glory is our glory.”

In an address to Bahrainis, King Hamad noted the “strategic relations and shared economic interests enjoyed by Bahrain with different countries are among the clearest evidence of its ability to be a part of the integrated development system.

“We believe this status is attributed to the outstanding Bahraini expertise wherever it is located,” he said.

Bahrain “prides itself on joining and contributing to all Gulf and international military and security alliances to protect our region and the Arab and Islamic surroundings from all types of terrorism”, he said.

“Our commitment will remain the hallmark of our robust relations with the international community, and will not hesitate to honour that pledge whatever the sacrifices.”

On Friday, Mohamed bin Hamad Saqer Al Moawda, ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the UAE, was one of the guests of honour at Yas Mall, where hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Bahrain.

Children dressed in red and white waved the country’s flag as both Emirati and Bahraini radio and television stars took the stage to celebrate.

Emirati singer Arwa Ahmed, dressed in Bahraini red for the occasion, performed two patriotic songs to kick off the celebrations.

“We tried to show that we are all connected as a nation. It’s like we’re one nation, one country, we’re like brothers and family together with Bahrain,” said Ms Arwa.

Shukri Al Qaisi, a diplomat at the Bahrain embassy who has lived in Abu Dhabi for seven years, said the UAE is home to about 6,000 Bahrainis.

“We wanted to enjoy national day with all the Bahrainis who are here,” said Mr Al Qaisi.

He said Bahrainis felt as much as home in the UAE as they do in their homeland.

“Some people they came here since 40 years back,” he said, adding some Bahrainis even adopted the Emirati passport because “they have the relationship with the Emiratis, because we are so close.

“That’s why for all the Bahrainis it’s so easy to live here because if you go to Bahrain or stay here, it’s a little bit the same. We feel like we are in Bahrain, not only UAE. Because everything is similar to Bahrain, that’s why we don’t feel homesick because we are in our country, it’s so close.”

Emaar Properties in Dubai marked Bahrain’s national day by illuminating Burj Khalifa with the colours of the Bahrain National flag.

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The National