Paris: UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday discussed various aspects of strategic partnership and opportunities for expanding its prospects in various fields.
During the meeting at Élysée Palace , Macron welcomed Sheikh Mohamed and expressed his happiness at his visit. The UAE President thanked the French President for the warm reception.
"The UAE and France share a strong, historic partnership, and today in Paris I joined President Emmanuel Macron to explore opportunities for further collaboration across various sectors. Together, we remain committed to promoting a stable and prosperous future for all," Sheikh Mohamed tweeted on Thursday.
Sheikh Mohamed and the French President affirmed their deep commitment to further strengthening the countries’ historic ties, and discussed ways to enhance collaboration in priority areas, including culture, environment, climate change, space, and renewable energy. Their talks also covered other fields central to both countries’ sustainable development ambitions, including investment, the economy, food security, and advanced technology.
The Presidents discussed regional and international developments, with both sides stressing the importance of promoting peace, stability and cooperation between nations.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Macron also talked about the upcoming COP28 climate conference, to be hosted by the UAE later this year. Both leaders reiterated their shared belief in the importance and potential of joint action. They stated that pursuing collaborative measures to confront climate change is an immediate priority for both countries.
During his working visit to France, the UAE President is accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Special Affairs Advisor at the Presidential Court; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority; and Hend Mana Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the French Republic.
UAE-France ties: Strong partnership across multiple sectors
The diplomatic cooperation between both countries has formed a key pillar in addressing various regional and international challenges, including confronting extremism and intolerance, promoting tolerance and coexistence, and contributing to global security and peace.
The UAE-France Strategic Dialogue, established in 2008, aims to identify existing and future opportunities and partnerships and ensure continuity of cooperation in priority sectors such as the economy, trade, investment, culture, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable energy, education, culture, health, space, security and other areas of mutual interest.
In June 2020, the two parties adopted an ambitious 10-year bilateral roadmap of the UAE-France strategic partnership (2020-2030). During the 14th session of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue held in Abu Dhabi last June, the two sides discussed enhancing key sectors such as the economy, trade and investment, oil and gas, green hydrogen, nuclear and renewable energy, climate change, education, culture, health, artificial intelligence, food security, fintech, intellectual property rights, anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, space, and cybersecurity.
Over the past years, dozens of agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed between the two countries in various economic, cultural, military, and environmental sectors. The latest was the signing of 13 agreements during President Macron's visit to the UAE in December last year.
At the economic level, the UAE and France have distinguished economic and investment relations, reflected by the non-oil foreign trade data between the two countries. According to data from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, the total volume of non-oil foreign trade between the two countries reached over Dh25.2 billion by the end of 2021.
The cultural partnership between the two countries is also significant, as it bridges communication between their peoples. Over the years, this partnership has achieved many milestones, such as the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first international museum in the Arab world and France's largest overseas cultural project. The Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi was established in 2006 after an agreement between the Sorbonne University in Paris and the Government of Abu Dhabi.
The countries have played a significant role in creating the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH). The UAE contributed €5 million to support the Arab World Institute in Paris in 2017, and in the same year, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall was opened at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The UAE also contributed €10 million to the restoration of the Napoleon III theatre at Fontainebleau Palace south of Paris, which was subsequently named after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, further exemplifying the close relations between Paris and Abu Dhabi.
On the educational level, the UAE has seven French-accredited high schools, which make up the sixth-largest network of French schools in the world in terms of enrolment, with more than 10,000 students. In 2018, the experimental stage of the French language programme was implemented in all UAE government schools. Now more than 60,000 students are learning French in government and private schools in the country.