Dubai ruler denies illness
Dubai, April 20, 2009
The ruler of Dubai said on Sunday rumours that he had been ill were part of a 'psychological war' against the Gulf emirate.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said on his website (uaepm.ae) that he was in excellent health and had taken part in endurance horse races over the past few months, one of which was over 120 km (75 miles).
'The rumours about me are part of what resembles a psychological war against Dubai over the past months ... I am well, praise God, and my health is in the best form,' said Sheikh Mohammed.
Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the UAE federation, is a regional trade and tourism hub.
Dubai's decision to allow foreign investment in property in 2002 kicked off a regional property boom, but it has since suffered under the global financial crisis.
'We did not at any time feel that the financial crisis is a threat. The worst is over and behind us,' said Sheikh Mohammed.
'Since the eruption of the crisis, we did not hear of any state-owned bank or company announcing bankruptcy. None of the economy sectors was broken,' he added.
He said Dubai would not introduce income taxes as a way of financing any budget deficits.
'We are confident that our national establishments' abilities, combined with the economic measures undertaken by the government, will lead to economic growth this year,' Sheikh Mohammed said, adding the tourism sector was in 'good shape'.
He did not give a forecast for real economic growth, but said it would be lower than in previous years.
'The measures we have undertaken so far have shifted the UAE economy from crisis mode to solution mode,' Sheikh Mohammed said.
'We are currently implementing plans and programmes of action to ensure recovery.'
Sheikh Mohammed said some Western media outlets 'connected to international business circles have adopted an intentional method that targeted the ... the Dubai development model.” – Reuters
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