Two leaders to discuss investment in culture, trade and recent developments in Middle East
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to meet French president in Paris
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is expected to arrive in Paris on Wednesday as part of an official visit to the French heads of state to discuss greater reciprocal investments and the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said in a tweet that he accepted Mr Macron's invitation to speak about furthering bilateral co-operation "in the fields of economy, investments, trade, culture and the recent developments in the Middle East".
He is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday over lunch and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at Hôtel de Matignon – the PM’s official residence – over dinner, as well as French businessmen and Emirati students studying in France.
The officials are expected to discuss a peaceful resolution to the war in Yemen, following a petition sent to the French President by a group of humanitarian organisations demanding that such discussions take place.
The relationship between France and the UAE was reinforced in 2012 following the establishment of a strategic dialogue framework to ensure technical follow-up of the major projects through high-level consultation
While at first co-operation between France and the UAE had been limited to hydrocarbons and security, it now involves cultural and academic cooperation, the installation of permanent French military bases in Abu Dhabi, and joint projects in the area of renewable energy.
With €3.6 billion (Dh15.1bn) in French exports to the Emirates, the UAE is now France’s second-largest export destination in the Gulf. More than 600 French companies are currently working in the UAE.
In November last year, Mr Macron visited the UAE to attend the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi. He was pictured with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed. He also joined Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for a lunch at Zuma.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi had visited Paris a few months prior, in June, where he met Mr Macron at the Elysee Palace.
In February, the two countries launched the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue. The six-month initiative includes a series of themed concerts, workshops and festivals that aim to encourage cultural exchange between the UAE and France.
The Dialogue launched at Louvre Abu Dhabi in the presence of Mr Philippe, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State.
A month later, Mr Macron visited the UAE pavilion at the Paris International Book Fair, where he was received by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah. Mr Macron said culture is the cornerstone of strategic relations between the UAE and France and that the relationship between both countries is a model of successful ties. He said he wished culture would be given greater attention in major co-operation projects.