Macron and his wife, Brigitte, were received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the entrance to the Elysée. Previously, the Emirati president visited the National Army Museum, where he was received by Defense Minister Sebastien Le Connor.
The two presidents will meet for lunch before meeting again in the evening for a state dinner at the Palace of Versailles, in the presence of 100 guests. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed will visit the Senate and the National Assembly. Macron will present to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed the insignia of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and a gift of a 1535 copy of the map of the Arabian Peninsula by the German geographer Lorenz Fries.
During the visit, which will last until Tuesday, a memorandum of understanding on increasing energy cooperation is expected to be signed. A French presidential adviser had said in earlier that one of the most important elements during the visit of the president of the UAE was “the announcement of the guarantees provided by the UAE in on the quantities of fuel supplies (diesel only) to France “.
The source added that “France is trying to diversify its sources of supply due to the conflict in Ukraine e in this context is in negotiation of this agreement underway “, noting that the UAE does not supply diesel to France at the moment. The” Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for Energy “, which the two countries intend to sign on Monday, covers conventional energy, renewable energy, hydrogen and others, provided it strengthens cooperation in gas exploration, in particularly through the French company “Total”. The UAE believes that Europe realized after the war in Ukraine and the hydrocarbon crisis that rapid separation from oil and gas to switch to alternative energies is not the best option, but that a more balanced approach must be taken in which the oil state can play a role.
Historical relationships and cooperation
In addition to the energy issue, during the first foreign state visit of the president of the United Arab Emirates since he entered in loaded last May, memoranda of understanding and contracts will be signed in the transport, waste treatment and other sectors. Relations between the two countries have developed in significantly in recent years. The UAE is home to the Louvre’s only foreign branch and the largest community of French and Francophone expats in the Gulf region. It also houses a French naval military base.
“Choosing France as the president’s first official visit is a conscious decision based on historical relations between the two countries, but also on the possibility of greater cooperation and growth with France,” said Anwar Gargash, adviser to the Emirati president for diplomatic affairs reporters Friday.
“The UAE is determined to remain a reliable partner in the energy field, as they are investing in a greater ability to meet global demand. We have been selling our oil to the Far East for 40 years and now we are directing it to Europe in a time of crisis. ”In December, the UAE signed a contract record 14 billion euros for the purchase of 80 Rafale warplanes.
“Many countries have stood by our side in the face of Houthi aggression in Yemen and we appreciate that France was one of these countries, which was a factor in His Highness’s choice of France “as his first foreign station, UAE ambassador to Paris Hend Al-Otaiba told the AFP. “The leadership of France in Europe, its culture, its educational system, the excellence of its scientists and its own know-how industrial make it an essential partner for us. For France, the United Arab Emirates are a stable and reliable ally, “she added.