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Chirac honours Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed

posted on 20/06/2002: 804 views

PARIS - President Jacques Chirac of France conferred a first class "Medal of Merit" upon Lt. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces at a grand ceremony held here last night. Sheikh Mohammed was decorated with the medal by Lt. General Jean-Pierre Cliche, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the French Armed Forces, on behalf of President Chirac in a grand ceremony held on the occasion.

Brigadier Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Commander of the Emiri Guard, was present on the occasion. Among those who attended the ceremony were Saif Sultan Mubarak Al Aryani, UAE Ambassador to France, Francois Gouyette, French Ambassador to UAE, a number of senior officials at the French Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs.

In a speech delivered in the conferment ceremony, Cliche said that he was delighted to receive Sheikh Mohammed. " The President of the Republic has honoured me to confer , on his behalf , the medal of merit on you in recognition of your services to consolidate relations between France and the UAE. This medal is a testimony to the affinity between our two peoples,” Lt. General Jean-Pierre Cliche said . " Your visit and talks you have held at highest level is another symbol of such partnership between our two countries who have opted to build an edifice of friendship and common destiny ,” he added, pointing out that the medal was in honour of the UAE Armed Forces too .

" I still remember your telephone call in which you informed me of UAE's decision to participate in peace-keeping in Kosovo, such a decision had a tremendous impact on a great mission which was accomplished in a very short time, " the French official said. He went on to say that since the September 11 events new avenues for further cooperation have been explored.

" This ceremony is , first of all , in appreciation of your arduous task in the past years to enhance friendship and cooperation between our two countries , and of your open-minded personality, " the French General said , addressing Sheikh Mohammed . "The medal comes , at first place , in appreciation of endeavours of both President H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and President Jacques Chirac , and of friendship between our two countries , " he added . Lt. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said , on his part , that he was delighted at the honour bestowed on him and at the speech , of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the French Armed Forces , on cooperation and friendship ties between UAE and France .

" The UAE always looks to France as a true and enduring partner , thanks to the wise leadership of President H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and President Jacques Chirac who laid the foundations of these ties , " he added . Sheikh Mohammed then awarded medals to eight French army officers in appreciation of their role in peace-keeping in Kosovo. Lt. General Jean-Pierre Cliche gave, later on the day , a dinner party in honour of Sheikh Mohammed . (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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