Dubai leader Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum dead

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

"His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai has passed away. He was 62 years old."

The above statement from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs confirmed that the ruler of Dubai died earlier this morning in Australia. The statement added that "the UAE had lost a historical leader from its leaders who dedicated his life to building the country, and strove to do his best for its people."

The official mourning period will last for 40 days, during which all UAE flags will fly at half mast. Ministries and government organisations will be closed for seven days, starting Wednesday.

Local stock markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai shed 1.8% and 3.3%, respectively, in early trading.

The Dubai Shopping Festival, the largest business & cultural event in Dubai's calendar, has been postponed until further notice, in a statement by CEO Saeed Al Nabouda.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been named the new ruler of Dubai, in an accession process that officials described as being automatic.