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Hamdan and Chirac discuss bilateral ties

posted on 16/11/2002: 661 views

Paris - President Jacques Chirac of France received here last Thursday at the Elysees Palace Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, Sheikh Hamdan conveyed to the French President greetings and best regards from President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice president, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. They reviewed relations of friendship and cooperation in various fields between the two countries.

The French President expressed satisfaction with the level of ties between his country and the UAE. He reviewed with his guest the role France played at the UN Security Council during the deliberation which preceded the issuing of the UN Resolution 1441 on Iraq and the efforts being exerted by France to ensure the resumption of the Middle East peace process. President Chirac conveyed through Sheikh Hamdan his greetings and best regards to Sheikh Zayed, wishing him good health and the UAE more progress and prosperity. They discussed the UAE's participation in the Paris Conference, which would discuss issues related to Lebanon's foreign debt.

Sheikh Hamdan expressed Sheikh Zayed's commitment to support Lebanon economically and to assist Beirut in tackling its debt issues, which is high on the agenda of the Paris Conference, to be held on November 23.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, after the meeting, Sheikh Hamdan reiterated the need to work hard to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and to resume peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians as per the international resolutions and agreements signed between the two sides. He said that his country views Iraq's acceptance of the UN resolution 1441 as a positive step and hopes that the UN inspectors would discharge their duties with utmost transparency, objectivity and neutrality.

He also expressed the hope that this new Iraqi step would pave the way to the resolution of the crisis peacefully and would protect its sovereignty and lead to the lifting of the economic sanctions, to allow Iran to take back its proper place in the Arab, Islamic and international communities. Present at the meeting were Saif Sultan Mubarak Al Aryani, UAE Ambassador to France and a number of officials from the UAE Foreign Ministry, accompanying the minister on the visit. Information reaching WAM said that it was agreed during the meeting that the joint UAE-France Committee should be raised to the foreign ministers' level, with the next meeting to be held in Abu Dhabi at a date to be set later.

WAM also learnt that the French Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Renaud Muselier, will visit the UAE by mid next month. The assistant spokesman of the Elysees Palace, Frederic de Sagneaux, told WAM that the meeting centred on issues, including the Iraqi issue, the Middle East and bilateral relations between the two countries. He said that France was recording the letter that Iraq sent to the UN Secretary General, informing him about Baghdad's acceptance of Resolution 1441, adding that it is necessary that Iraq complies fully with the new resolution by living up to its commitments, which the international community expects from Baghdad.

He said that President Chirac reiterated the need for the UN inspectors to be able to do their job without any hindrance or delay. On the Middle East, de Sagneaux said that President Chirac has expressed great concern over the continuous waves of violence and terror, as well as the deteriorating military situation in the Palestinian territories, adding that the two sides have expressed support for the Quartet Committee, and reiterated the importance of the Road Map to peace initiative. On bilateral ties between the UAE and France, he said President Chirac had commended the level of ties between the two countries and said he foresaw a brighter future for these relations. He also commended the historic partnership between the UAE and France. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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