MBZ Begins Historic France Visit

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UAE and France are aiming to bolster joint action to addressing several of the greatest challenges facing the world today, including future energy, climate change, and technology, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

In his first official visit as President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, in Paris today.

President Macron will receive Sheikh Mohamed at the Élysée Palace at 12.30 PM local time (2.30 PM UAE time). A lunch banquet will be hosted by Macron for President Sheikh Mohamed.

According to state media WAM, the visit is an opportunity to reinforce and expand the longstanding strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and France.

The two Heads of State will aim to bolster joint action that supports a collective responsibility to addressing several of the greatest challenges facing the world today, including future energy, climate change, and technology. In addition, the two nations will continue to strengthen ties across culture, education and space.

Finally, they will discuss the collective efforts of France and the United Arab Emirates in regional stability and security. Sheikh Mohamed will also meet a number of French officials during the visit.

Strategic partnership

The UAE and France are bound by longstanding strategic relations as they derive their strength from the support, follow-up and directives of the leadership of the two countries represented by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and President Emmanuel Macron.

During the past years, the distinguished relations between the two countries constituted a main pillar for facing various types of regional and international challenges, and played an outstanding role in combating extremism and intolerance, and contributed to spreading the concepts of tolerance and coexistence among religions and societies.

Relations between the two countries dates back to the establishment of the UAE Federation, as some French petroleum company, such as “Total”, were engaged in oil exploration in the UAE, and these relations were strengthened after the first visit of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to France in 1976.

In order to enhance areas of bilateral cooperation and raise them to the levels of strategic partnership, the two countries established the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue, which began its work for the first time in 2008.

Since that time, meetings of the Dialogue Committee have been organised, and within it the two parties adopted on 3rd June 2020, a new roadmap for their strategic partnership for the next ten years, i.e. for the period 2020-2030.

The past years witnessed the signing of dozens of agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries in various economic, cultural, military and environmental fields, the latest of which was 13 agreements signed during the visit of the French President to the UAE last December.

The UAE and France have distinguished economic and investment relations, and the non-oil foreign trade data between the two countries reflect the strength of the economic relations between the two sides that extend for decades, as the total volume of non-oil foreign trade between the two countries reached more than AED25.2 billion by the end of 2021, according to Data of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.

France is one of the main foreign investors in the UAE. French direct investments in the UAE amounted to 2.5 billion euros by the end of 2020, while the UAE ranks 35th in the list of foreign investors in France.

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The two countries pay special attention to their cultural partnership out of their belief in the importance of building bridges of communication between the peoples of the two countries. Over the past years, this partnership has witnessed many achievements, represented in the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, which was established in 2006.

The two countries played a major role in establishing the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), and the UAE contributed 5 million euros to support the Arab World Institute in Paris in 2017, and in the same year the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall was inaugurated at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Moreover, the UAE contributed to the restoration of the Château de Fontainebleau’s historic Imperial Theatre with a contribution of 10 million euros, and accordingly the theater was re-named after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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