H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister has emphasised the UAE's interest in promoting its bilateral relations with France in all spheres.
Sheikh Abdullah was speaking at the opening ceremony of the new French Embassy at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, in presence of Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister. At the ceremony, Sheikh Abdullah and Fabius unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the new French Embassy.
He noted that the opening of the new French Embassy reflects the strength of the bilateral relations between the UAE and France as well as their common interests.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that trade between the UAE and France in 2012 stood at Dh14 billion, making the UAE France's 4th biggest 'trade surplus' partner.
He also noted that Emirates Airline's renewal of its sponsorship of Paris Saint-Germain club through to 2018/2019 season was not a coincidence.
People of the UAE feel proud as they see the logo of Emirates on the French club's shirts made the people of the UAE proud.
"The Abu Dhabi Investment Forum (ADIF), organised in Paris by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, concluded three days ago, focused on the developments of the economic and investment relations between the two countries, and highlighted investment opportunities offered by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the sectors of industry, finance, energy and finance. I expect the relations between French and UAE companies to advance a lot after this forum." "France was among the most popular tourist destinations in the world in 2012. Tens of thousands of Emiratis visited France to enjoy the beauty and the richness of French culture, climate and hospitality. I am sure the number of tourists between the two countries will increase in the coming period," Sheikh Abdullah said.
"France showed support to efforts by the UAE for exemption of Emiratis from entry visa to Schengen countries. Visa exemption in European Union member countries is among the important pillars for our foreign policy, so France's support to our efforts received appreciation and gratitude from our side." "Investment, tourism and diplomatic relations are important aspects in bilateral relations, but they remain traditional ones. What makes our cooperation unique in other non-traditional aspects is the common interest in international security. France is at the forefront of countries in involved in combating risks to international stability. The UAE supported France's efforts in Mali to enforce peace and security in Mali, Libya and Afghanistan.
Our common view on the international affairs and the combating of relating risks has put us side by side at international dialogues and operations. I am sure this cooperation will grow and develop in the future," Sheikh Abdullah added.
He noted that the exceptional cultural and educational cooperation and the knowledge exchange between the UAE and France have contributed to improving academic and cultural performance in the UAE. Establishing French higher-education institutes provided great opportunities for the Emirati youth to receive high-quality education, Sheikh Abdullah noted citing the establishment of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University as the best instance on this cooperation.
The opening of a Louvre Abu Dhabi. A fine arts museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the Louvre, France's national museum, and having works of the French museum in Abu Dhabi, represent a significant step towards establishing a global cultural hub in the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah remarked.
"These projects would not have been possible without our strong bilateral relations," Sheikh Abdullah concluded.
For his part, French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, noted that France and the UAE have 42 years of friendship and partnership in various spheres including economy, culture and strategic relations.
Sheikh Surour bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, French Ambassador to the UAE, Alain Azouaou, and senior UAE and French officials attended the ceremony.
Earlier at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Abdullah and Fabius discussed bilateral relations and cooperation between the UAE and France, their positions on the latest regional and international developments, as well as matters of common interest to both countries.