The French President, Emmanuel Macronwelcomed this Monday in Paris his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyanfor talk especially about fuel supply, in the midst of rising prices.
Dressed in traditional garb, the Emirati leader, known as MBZ, toured the red carpet rolled out at the Elysee Palaceseat of the French presidency, before greeting his counterpart and his wife, Brigitte Macron.
On the agenda, a working lunch before a gala dinner in the Grand Trianon of the Palace of Versaillesin the presence of a hundred guests. The president will also receive the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
MBZ is making his first international trip to Paris since succeeding his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa, as head of the oil-rich Gulf country that includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai in May.
Both countries signed several energy agreements during the first day of the state visit, including a global strategic partnership agreement for long-term energy cooperation between the two countries. The objective is to open the way to new common projects at an industrial or investment level in sectors such as hydrogen, renewables or nuclear.
The possibility of creating a common fund to finance green projects in the energy sector is also established.
This agreement has a “double strategic importance: It allows us to address the urgent remains of near-term energy security as we prepare for a carbon-free future.”, assured the French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, in a statement from his Government.
In addition, TotalEnergies and the Emirati ADNOC will announce another agreement for the supply of diesel to Francealthough for now no figures or deadlines have been disclosed.
This is inscribed in French objective of diversifying its sources of energy supply in the context of the war in Ukrainenoted the French source.
The Emirates exports refined oil products, but not diesel, to the second largest economy in the European Union. Total exports rose in 2019 to 1,500 million euros (1,525 million dollars at current exchange rates).
The French and Emirati heads of state also had on the agenda to discuss their “joint efforts” to strengthen “stability and security” in the Middle East, especially on the nuclear negotiation with Iran, according to the Elysee.
Human rights advocates, including FIDH, LDH and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), called on Macron to address the human rights issue with his Emirati counterpart and to suspend arms sales to his country.
“Since the beginning of the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, several NGOs revealed the presence of French material sold to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, of which the Emirates is a part,” the NGOs write.
Relations between the two countries have grown closer in recent years. France closed a record contract in December to sell 80 Rafale combat aircraft for 14,000 million euros and also has a military base in Abu Dhabi.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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