The 2nd of December represents an important historic moment. On this day in 1971, the UAE founding father and custodian of its progress, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, achieved his dream with the declaration of the United Arab Emirates. That moment marked a change in both history and geography, and saw a new dawn for one of the most remarkable success stories in the region and in the whole world.
The 2nd of December is a source of pride and glory. On this very day, our journey for progress and building set sail. It is a journey that is still going steady under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This patriotic feeling has special significance on the 44th anniversary of our national day, following the victories and heroic sacrifices made by our armed forces in Yemen, as part of their noble mission to defend the UAE's values, principles and ethics in siding with the righteous and supporting the oppressed.
The 2nd of December chronicles the auspicious journey of our union. It is the day on which we pay tribute to our founding fathers and renew allegiance to the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who, after successfully completing the establishment phase, launched the empowerment phase ten years ago and raised the bar for development objectives.
Year after year, the UAE moved from one achievement to another in the service, industrial, social, cultural and sports fields. The country also became visible on the world's competitiveness map, climbing rapidly to the top ranks of human development indices.
Thanks to the comprehensive development and economic progress it achieved, the UAE has become a destination for tolerance and opening to other cultures. The UAE is a country that exchanges respect with respect and enjoys security through legislation that respects freedoms of difference and diversity and treats everyone equally before the law. This has been reflected in the presence of diverse communities, enjoying stability and decent living standards.
We continue our endeavours to build and strengthen bridges of cooperation with all countries of the world to serve our national interests and to enhance our regional and international influence. We have created meaningful partnerships with different countries and maintained political, economic and investment relations with the world's leading countries. We have also worked with our allies and friends to help bolster stability and development in the world. Under the wise directives of our leadership, our country has gained prominent status across the world.
Throughout the empowerment phase, our armed forces underwent a huge development in its capabilities and became the strong shield that defends our country's achievements and interests and guarantees its security and stability.
Our armed forces enjoy the support of our prudent leadership. This was evident when our youth raced to join the national service. Then came the sacrifices of our citizens in Yemen which highlighted the unity among the people and their leadership and sent a strong message to the plotting forces, whether external or isolated groups who sold their consciences and loyalty to the enemies. Our experience in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition has shown that our armed forces are a role model for efficiency, organisation, discipline and courage.
The 44th year of Union will be witness to many accomplishments that will no doubt help strengthen the federation. Our leadership succeeded with its policy of confronting the enemies' schemes against Arab security by imposing a strategic siege on the GCC countries. The historic decision to join the Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen will always be marked as a step that led to maintaining security and stability of the GCC countries, protecting them from serious strategic threats.
On this occasion, I pay homage to the souls of our martyrs who demonstrated patriotism, loyalty and gallantry. I also salute our soldiers who were injured in the military operations in Yemen, renew the support of the armed forces and the government to them and wish them a speedy recovery.
In conclusion, I would like to extend heartiest greetings to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates and to the people of the UAE on this auspicious occasion.