The UAE and France have re-affirmed their determination to further consolidate their strategic partnership to ensure close coordination and continued consultations at a time the region is witnessing increased volatility and instability.
This came in a joint statement issued by the two countries following the state visit paid by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to France on November 21st at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
They reiterated their commitment to promote cultural dialogue and reinforce values of tolerance by further facilitating cultural exchanges between their various institutions.
Towards this end, the two nations have decided to organize the ‘French-Emirati Season 2021’ in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the formation of the United Arab Emirates. The season will feature a collection of activities to be held in both the UAE and France in 2021, a year which will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE.
Following is the statement:
“At the invitation of the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces conducted an official visit to Paris on 21st November 2018.
This visit, which took place on the occasion of the Year of Zayed, commemorating the centennial of the birth of Sheikh Zayed, founding father and first President of the United Arab Emirates, was a new testimony of the strength of the historic partnership and ties between France and the UAE.
President Macron and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan held in-depth discussions on regional and international issues of common interest and priority, in particular the fight against terrorism and countering extremism.
The official visit enabled the French Republic and the UAE to take stock of the implementation of the bilateral road map agreed upon during the visit of President Macron to the UAE on November 2017 and to draw new prospects with a view of further enhancing the bilateral cooperation in the fields of education and francophone (I), culture and heritage (II), economy and investment (III), energy, environment and the fight against climate change (IV), space (V), regional peace and security, defense cooperation and the fight against terrorism and countering extremism and their supporters (VI) and political consultations (VII).
*I. In the field of education and francophone: – Both parties welcome the appointment of a new Board of Trustees of Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD).
– Both parties welcome the adoption of the new strategic plan 2019-2023, which was agreed upon during the Board of Trustees of SUAD meeting, held in Abu Dhabi on 28 September 2018, with a view of fully realizing the potential of SUAD as a regional center of excellence.
– Both parties welcome the upgrade of UAE’s membership status at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophone, from observer to associated member, which was unanimously agreed upon by all Member States at the Summit of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophone held in Erevan on 11-12 October 2018.
– Both parties welcome, in this context, the signature of the bilateral agreement in Abu Dhabi on 26 July 2018 on the reintroduction of French language teaching in 10 public schools in the UAE in its initial phase and the nomination of a French expert to coordinate with the UAE Ministry of Education on the implementation of this program.
– Both parties praise the launching of the works for the extension of the French Lycée Théodore Monod on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.
– Both parties welcome the upcoming project of launching a francophone radio in order to further promote French and francophone culture and the French language in the UAE.
– France praise the decision of the UAE to contribute to the rehabilitation of the Royal Castle of Villers-Cotterêts, which will host the future “Cité de la Francophonie” in 2022.
– Paris Hospital Foundations and the American Hospital of Paris each signed agreements with the Department of Health of the UAE to set the conditions under which the French party shall provide medical services to Emirati patients.
– France welcome the perspective of the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2019, in which France intends to participate with a delegation of more than one hundred athletes.
– H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with the Emirati students (64) studying in France at the Louvre Museum.
*II. In the field of culture and heritage: – Both parties welcome the opening of the exhibition “Age Old Cities: a virtual journey from Palmyra to Mossoul” at the Arab World Institute on 16 October 2018. They welcome on this occasion the announcement of the first projects funded by “ALIPH”, the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, co-created by the United Arab Emirates and the French Republic and announced on 2 December 2016 in Abu Dhabi during the ALIPH first conference, and the recent designation of Valéry Freland as the new Executive Director of ALIPH. Both parties reiterated their commitment to contribute for an amount of 30 million dollars for France and 15 million dollars for the UAE, and invited all the parties interested in this initiative to further contribute to the Fund.
– H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited the Sheikh Zayed Center at the Louvre. On this occasion, both parties praised the success of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, one year after its opening, and the ongoing cooperation for the programming of new temporary exhibitions and coordination of loans from French collections. The recent meeting of the board of Agence France-Muséums held in Abu Dhabi on 9 November 2018 along with the visit of the French Minister of Culture underlined the importance of this bilateral cooperation. Both parties welcomed the recent designation of Sandra Lagumina as the new chair of Agence France-Muséums.
– The Republic of France and the United Arab Emirates welcome the French-UAE cultural dialogue 2018-2019, which aims to reinforce the cultural partnership between the two countries, in accordance with the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed on 9 November 2017 in Abu Dhabi between the French Ministry of Culture and the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. Both praised the success of the UAE Cultural Week in Paris, which was held from 11 to 14 October 2018, and of the exhibition of the Emirati painter Abdulqader Al Rais at the Arab World Institute, which was held in Paris from 25 September 2018 to 21 October 2018.
– Both countries jointly reaffirm their commitment to intercultural dialogue and their willingness to promote values of tolerance through cultural, artistic and institutional cooperation. To that end, both parties have decided to organise a French-UAE crossed season in 2021, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary, Golden Jubilee of the UAE through a series of events in France and in the UAE all along the year.
*III. In the field of economy and investment: – Following the success of the first edition of the French-Emirati Forum, which was held in Dubai on 9 November 2017 on the occasion of the official visit of President Macron to the UAE, the UAE-France Business Forum held its second edition in Paris on 17 October 2018. Co-chaired by Frederic Sanchez, President of MEDEF International on the French side, and Majid Saif Al Ghureir, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry from the UAE side, the Forum was inaugurated by the two Chairs along with Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, from UAE side, and Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Secretary General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and gathered over 200 participants.
– President Emmanuel Macron and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan praise the success of the second edition of the UAE-France Business Forum and the success it gathered in fostering exchanges between French and Emirati companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises.
– An agreement between Mubadala Investment Company and Bpifrance was signed on by Nicolas Dufourcq, Chairman of Bpifrance, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, Abu Dhabi, creating a new joint co-investment program for an amount of 300 million euros, dedicated to the French VC, technology and innovation space.
– Both entities are also in the process of agreeing the extension of the existing co-investment program (Franco Emirati Fund) with additional 700 million euros. The co-investment program was created in 2014 and has already committed more than 300 million euros to support the development of French companies with a proven growth potential through long-term investments in healthcare, education, elderly care, real estate and affinity insurance.
– Both parties welcome the recent developments in regards to the French participation at the Dubai World Expo in 2020, in accordance with the contract signed on 9 November 2017 by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director-General of Expo 2020 DubaiBureau, and Erik Linquier, France’s Commissary General for Expo 2020 Dubai.
– His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also held a working session with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and several CEOs of French companies, in view of exploring the ways to enhance economic cooperation, strengthen bilateral trade and encourage joint-investment projects, both in France and in the UAE.
– Both parties have agreed to continue to cooperate in the field of intellectual property (IP), in order to improve the competitiveness of SMEs and to strengthen IP awareness and IP education further to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 22 June 2018, between the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and the International Center of Patent Registration of the Ministry of Economy of the UAE.
*IV. In the field of energy, environment, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals: – Both parties praise the results of the One Planet Summit held in New York on 26 September 2018, in the wake of the first Summit held in Paris on 12 December 2017, and the active participation of the Republic of France and the UAE in New Delhi, on 3 October 2018, in the first General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance.
– Both countries jointly reaffirm their support to energy transition and green economy initiatives and agreed to develop joint projects in the field of renewable energies and climate change adaptation and mitigation, in particular on the potential applications of Artificial Intelligence and satellite observation in these fields.
– Both parties welcome the upcoming 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10) to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2020, and agreed to reinforce their cooperation in the field of smart and sustainable cities.
– Both countries share a common understanding of the importance of international development and solidarity, with the primary objective being to contribute to the global effort of eradicating poverty around the world. In a world marked by the acceleration of climate change and increased instability, our responsibility to lead on identifying solutions to our common global challenges is more necessary than ever.
– The UAE and France place the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 at the heart of their individual and joint actions. As the global community moves forward towards 2030, the UAE and France commit to addressing challenges and collaborating in solution driven initiatives.
– Both parties agree to support jointly the UNITLIFE initiative, under the umbrella of the United Nations, to counter climate change and chronic malnutrition.
– In the field of nuclear energy, both parties welcome the signature, in the margins of the IAEA general conference in Vienna, of two agreements between the UAE Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and the French Institute for Radiology protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) on 18 September 2018, and between FANR and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) on 19 September 2018.
*V. In the field of space cooperation: – France congratulates the United Arab Emirates on the successful launch, on 29 October 2018, of Khalifasat, the first high resolution Earth Observation satellite entirely manufactured in the UAE by Emirati engineers.
– France and the United Arab Emirates welcome the substantial progress of their space cooperation and, in particular, between the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA). In this framework, both parties praised the ongoing work on a first joint Earth Observation satellite, which will lead to a preliminary definition of the mission before the end of 2018, targeting capacity building, societal applications and providing a significant joint contribution to the Space Climate Observatory.
– Both parties praise the ongoing cooperation in training and education and the perspective of the organisation of a dedicated seminar on space technology early 2019 in the UAE.
– Both parties welcome the establishment, in September 2018, of the representation office of CNES at the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi, in order to foster the bilateral cooperation in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015 between CNES and UAESA and as a follow-up to the contacts established by the CNES with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC).
*VI. In the fields of regional peace and security, defense cooperation and the fight against terrorism and countering extremism: – At a time when the region is confronted to increased instability, both parties renew their commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership between France and the UAE which aims at building a prosperous and stable environment. In that context, both parties maintain close and constant consultations regarding the crisis in the region.
– Regarding Yemen, they reaffirm their support to the efforts of UNSG Special Envoy Martin Griffiths especially his efforts to hold the next round of discussions in Stockholm later this year. They reiterate their support for a sustained political solution for Yemen and re-emphasize the importance of all relevant Security Council resolutions, including UNSC 2216, the GCC Initiative, and the Yemeni Dialogue. On the humanitarian side, they underline the urgency of the situation and praised the launch of the Imdad initiative by Saudi Arabia and the UAE; which will provide $500 million of additional support towards humanitarian needs in the food and nutrition sectors in Yemen and will be carried out through the United Nations, the international, regional, and local organisations. Both sides also highlight the importance for increased international assistance and improved humanitarian access throughout Yemen – Both parties praise their common work on Libya – especially on the fight against terrorism and the pursuit of a political solution. In this regard, they renew their support to the efforts of the UNSG Special Envoy and to the constitutional process leading to elections by Spring 2019.
– Regarding Syria, both parties reaffirm their shared objectives: fight against terrorism, humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and working towards a political solution. They underline the necessity to respect a ceasefire, in Idlib. They call for the gathering of the constitutional committee by the end of the year. They recall that international assistance to the reconstruction of Syria depends on the existence of a credible political process.
– France presented current European efforts to uphold the JCPOA. Both parties shared concerns regarding nuclear, ballistic and regional issues involving Iran.
– Both parties reaffirm their support for a fair, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their express their concerns towards the evolution of the situation on the ground, in particular tensions in the Gaza strip and development of the settlements which undermine the two-state solution. They recall that the only way to reach a lasting peace was through a negotiated solution leading to two states, Israel and Palestine, leaving side by side, in peace and security with Jerusalem as a capital. They recall the importance of the Arab peace initiative.
– Both parties praise the ongoing intense and fruitful cooperation in the field of security and defense on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the French Air Force base in Al Dhafra on 1st October 2008, and in the perspective of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the establishment of the French naval base in Abu Dhabi on 26 May 2009.
– Both parties recall that the fight against terrorism is a common priority in the framework of the strategic partnership between France and the United Arab Emirates. Both countries also reaffirm their commitment to counter radicalisation and extremism.
– In this context, France and the United Arab Emirates confirm their strong will to act in support of peace and stability in Africa in particular by supporting the operational of the G5 Sahel joint force. The United Arab Emirates allocated a financial contribution to this process, as announced during the conference at La Celle Saint–Cloud on 13 December 2017. France has agreed to share with the United Arab Emirates its operational experience in that geographic area in order to help identify further ways of contributing to the operational of the joint force G5 Sahel.
– Both parties also praise the close partnership in the field of security and homeland protection, through sharing experience and expertise, and confirm to continue the close cooperation in this field in accordance with the bilateral cooperation agreement signed in 2009 between France and the UAE.
– Both parties recall their joint and determined commitment to fight against modern and traditional threats, openly brutal or more insidious, such as terrorism and radicalization, cross border traffics and transnational criminal networks, cyber crime and money laundering, all of which jeopardizing the public order and the well being within our national communities.
– France praise the participation of the UAE, as a strategic partner and at the highest level, to the “No money for terror” conference, held in Paris in April 2018. In this context, France and the UAE both agree that the fight against terrorism is an international endeavor and holds to account any country or entity or person responsible for any type of support.
– Both parties praise, in an increasingly multilateral environment, the work undertaken since the foundation of the “Alliance” working group, which gathers now 8 countries and has offered, since its inception in February 2017 on the basis of a French-UAE initiative, numerous occasions for its members, including at a ministerial level, to share their best practices in combating transnational organised crime, terrorism and radicalization. The latest of these meetings took place in Lyon on 10 October 2018, after a large scale live scenario international demonstration on the French National Intervention Plan for countering massive terrorist attacks, which was attended by an important delegation from the UAE.
*VII. In the field of political dialogue: – Both parties welcome the participation of the UAE, represented by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, to the Paris Peace Forum on 11 November 2018, for which 5 projects presented by the UAE have been selected.
– Both parties welcome the recent visit of the France-UAE Group of Friendship of the French National Assembly to the UAE, from 10 to 17 November 2018, and the perspective of the strengthening of ties between French and Emirati parliamentary institutions.
– Both parties emphasize the importance to further strengthen bilateral partnership in all fields of cooperation. In that regard, they welcome the conclusions of the 10th session of the bilateral Strategic Dialogue, held in Abu Dhabi on 18 April 2018, and the prospect of a next meeting in France in spring 2019.”