Former Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora (right) and Ibrahim Al Abed.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, has mourned Ibrahim Al Abed, a prominent Emirati media figure who passed away at the age of 78.
Al Abed and Siniora were roommates during their studies at the American University of Beirut, AUB, in the 1970s.
Siniora, 77, who headed his country's government from 2005 to 2009, said that Al Abed was a "dear friend with high values," stressing that he was "surprised by the sad news."
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, which Al Abed founded in 1977, Siniora said, "I am from Sidon, and I got to know him there. During our studies at the American University, we shared a residence in Beirut for about a year, along with another guy named Marwan."
He added, "I was initially friends with his brother Faisal, and then my relationship with Ibrahim developed. In addition to being good friends, we were also members of the Arab Nationalist Movement."
The late Ibrahim Al Abed, who studied political science and business administration, joined the UAE's Ministry of Information and Culture in 1975, as head of the department of external relations. In 1977, he established WAM, managing it until 1989.
From 2016 until his death, Al Abed served as Adviser to the Chairman of the National Media Council.
The hashtag #IbrahimAlAbed in Arabic was trending on Twitter in the UAE yesterday.
Al Abed had witnessed the development of the UAE before and after the Union was established 49 years ago. He played a leading role in formulating the policies and legislations governing the country's media sector.
The UAE's political leadership and many from the cultural and media sectors have offered their condolences to the Al Abed family and his admirers.
Siniora said that after the friends parted ways, he was still an avid follower of Al Abed’s career in the UAE. "I was happy with the successes he was achieving. Our friendship continued despite the distances."
The former Prime Minister of Lebanon who also worked as his country’s Minister of Finance from 2000 to 2004 said that he will call Al Abed's brother Faisal to offer his condolences to the family.
Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “Our condolences to our media sector in the UAE on the death of one of its founders, Ibrahim Al-Abed, may God have mercy on him..."
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