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CORRECTED - UPDATE 1-Dubai "strong and persistent", ruler says

(Corrects UAE president’s last name in sixth paragraph)

* Says global reaction indicates lack of understanding

* UAE economy in good condition, grew in Q4, president says

(Adds quotes, incorporates president’s remarks)

By Inal Ersan and John Irish

DUBAI, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The ruler of Dubai said on Tuesday the emirate was “strong and persistent”, despite the global reaction to its plans to restructure a conglomerate that he said manifested a lack of understanding.

Dubai, one of seven members of the United Arab Emirates federation, alarmed global markets last week when it asked for a six-month repayment freeze on debt issued by Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] and its unit Nakheel [NAKHD.UL], two of its flagship developers. [ID:nSP5757]

“They do not understand anything,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said when asked about the global reaction to Dubai World’s standstill request and restructuring plans.

The issue raised concern about the health of the emirate’s economy as investors and creditors were assuming that the government would help Dubai World shoulder its obligations.

“We are strong and persistent,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters. “It is the fruit-bearing tree that becomes the target of (stone) throwers,” he added, in an apparent reference to criticism of the emirate over the issue.

The remarks by Sheikh Mohammed came after United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan said the OPEC member’s economy was strong and will not slip due to the global financial crisis.

Sheikh Khalifa also voiced support for Dubai’s ruler, who is also UAE vice president, prime minister and defence minister, saying Sheikh Mohammed and his cabinet “face every morning challenges, but plan and remove all obstacles to score achievements”.

Sheikh Khalifa said the national economy was showing signs of gradual growth in the fourth quarter. (Editing by David Holmes) ((inal.ersan@thomsonreuters.com; +971 4 366 4255; Reuters Messaging: inal.ersan.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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