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French Minister lauds UAE-French co-operation

posted on 25/04/2004: 730 views

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie yesterday affirmed the strong ties between the UAE and France and the co-operation between the two countries in various domains, particularly in the military fields. Speaking at a press conference she held at the Officers' Club here, Michele Alliot-Marie said that the fact that she was visiting the UAE for the third time in few months as well as the repeated exchange of visits between UAE and French military officers were a clear proof of the strength of the two countries' relations.

"Apart from the military co-operation, the UAE and France share common political understanding which emphasises the role of the United Nations in all international affairs," she said. She said that she had met with H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Lt. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and had discussed with them a number of regional and international issues, noting that the talks had been held in an atmosphere of understanding.

She expressed France's desire to see Iraq restore its full sovereignty, asserting that France would participate in the reconstruction of Iraq on condition that the authority was transferred to the Iraqi people and responsibility was delegated to the UN. "France will not take part in the reconstruction of Iraq unless these conditions have been met," she added. Michele Alliot-Marie said that all the officials she met had shown their grave concern about the situation in Iraq, particularly the unity of Iraq, while sharing France's policy of the need for Iraq to restore its full sovereignty and political authority.

On the military contracts between France and the UAE, Michele Alliot-Marie said they were progressing smoothly. Responding to a question on the possibility of sending GCC forces to Iraq, Michele Alliot-Marie said that all had shown their political solidarity with Iraq but no one talked about sending forces. Asked whether France was worried about Iran's nuclear programme, She said that everyone knew the role France played along with Britain and the United States to subject Iran's nuclear programme for inspection by IAEA, expressing the hope that the Iranian government would continue to co-operate with IAEA. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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