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France eager to deepen ties with UAE

posted on 28/10/2007: 805 views

France is seeking to cement its ties of friendship and cooperation with the UAE in all fields, according to its Defence Minister Herve Morin. In an interview with WAM ahead of his tomorrow's visit to the UAE, Morin underlined the significance of his visit which, he said, comes as part of the two countries' keenness to enhance their bilateral relations.

He added that during his two-day visit, he will discuss with senior Emarati officials current developments, ways to boost bilateral relations and cooperation in defence fields. "France has always sought to deepen bilateral cooperation in defence fields. This will be the focus of my visit. Our two nations enjoy historic relations and a strategic partnership based on mutual trust," he said.

Morin said that President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit to France in July and his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, shortly after being sworn in as the new President of France, enabled the two leaders to identify new areas for development in their countries' relations.

"The special relations between the UAE and France resulted in promising projects in all areas, particularly the in the areas of education, culture and energy. Such cooperation in evident in the Paris Sorbonne - Abu Dhabi, The Louver Abu Dhabi and the cooperation in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including power generation. I can proudly say that our relations are exemplary," he stated.

Asked about the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in defence spheres, Morin said that UAE is seen as one of France's top partners, the two countries signed a defence agreement in 1995.

"I will cite Lebanon as an example (for UAE-France partnership). The two countries cooperated last year to provide support to that friendly country when it went through difficult times. Our military cooperation focuses on joint exercises and exchange of expertise. We are very keen to strengthen our defence cooperation with the UAE." Asked about France's position on the current stand-off over Iran's nuclear plans, the French Minister said: "Ours is a clear and firm stand. Iran has international obligation that must be respected. The international community has made it clear it is for Iran's interest to accept its generous offers for political, economic and commercial cooperation. Iran was made to understand that continuing enrichment activities would not go without consequences and that if Iran insists on going that way; it will be subject to new sanctions." "Our President," he went on, "has bluntly expressed France's determination to persuade Iran to deal with the international community." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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