Xavier Chatel, French Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates-2-1658415482190
Xavier Chatel, during his interaction with Gulf News on Thursday. Image Credit: Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE is poised to enter a new dynamic era of partnership with France that will not only honour decades of bilateral collaboration between the two countries, but also mark a thrust in cooperation in various new sectors, especially health care, culture and renewable energy. This was the observation of Xavier Chatel, the French Ambassador to the UAE since 2020.

Speaking to Gulf News at a media a briefing on the impact of the first official visit of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, after assuming office, Chatel said this visit had notched up another level of collaboration between the two countries.

Chatel recalled that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed had first visited France as a young boy in 1975 with late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

“That was 40 years ago and the fact that he chose France as the first country for his official visit after becoming President of UAE, indicates the significance of this visit and the concept of friendship between the two countries runs deep,” Chatel said.

Xavier Chatel, French Ambassador to the UAE-1658415485366
Chatel said that the UAE is a much-loved country and has one of the largest French populations outside of France. Image Credit: Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary/Gulf News

The UAE had signed several agreements in the field of renewable energy, culture, education and music among other areas during the recent visit by the UAE President.

Chatel said “the most noteworthy among these is the new collaboration in health care between Abu Dhabi Health Department and Pasteur Institute that will mark a new era of R&D partnerships between the two countries”.

Chatel further said that UAE is a much-loved country and has one of the largest French populations outside of France. “Nearly 30,000 French nationals live here, employed in various sectors such as energy, aviation, education, arts and they are now diversifying into health care, hospitality, retail and many other sectors. Nearly two-thirds of this population is below 45 years of age.”

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The French contribution to UAE’s art, culture and industrial sectors is evident with the presence of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne University and offices of Insead and Airbus. Now the new era will see partnerships in space, renewable energy, possible potential for nuclear collaborations, joint partnerships in Metro services, Etihad Rail Network and the softer sectors such as art and craft and music, the French envoy said.