The 15th session of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by HE Anne-Marie Descotes, Secretary-General of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, was held in Paris today (Monday 19 June 2023).
Building on the exceptional bilateral relations between the two countries, and following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and HE Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, the Strategic Dialogue co-chairs re-affirmed their commitment to further boost cooperation in priority fields and sectors.
Both parties welcomed the 11 May 2023 working visit and meeting between the two Presidents in Paris, less than a year after the State Visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France. The two sides also look forward to the upcoming visit by President Macron to the UAE on the occasion of COP28.
The two sides reviewed the ongoing implementation of the strategic bilateral investment partnerships, signed in December 2021. They commended the growing cooperation between Etihad Rail and corresponding French firms. Both sides also applauded the successful inaugural meeting of the UAE-France High-Level Business Council, jointly chaired by HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies. The January 2023 meeting in Abu Dhabi marked another significant milestone in economic cooperation between the UAE and France. The involvement of HE Bruno le Maire, Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, in the High-Level Business Council underlined France's commitment to deepening its economic partnership with the UAE, recognising the strategic importance of the region and the UAE's role as a key economic hub in the Middle East.
In the energy sector, the UAE and France continue their engagement under the Comprehensive Strategic Energy Partnership (CSEP), which aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the energy sector on the principles of equality and mutual benefits, across the public and private sectors of both countries. Both countries are deepening discussions on a partnership on the financing of the energy transition to be announced at COP28.
The French side reiterated its support for the COP28 Presidency whilst conveying wishes for its success. Both sides underlined the urgent need for the international community to drastically step up efforts in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep the +1.5°C increase in global temperatures within reach, notably by increasing ambition and enhancing nationally-determined contributions to be in line with this objective, by reducing energy emissions and consumption and accelerating the transition towards clean energy systems, while ensuring energy accessibility, affordability, and security. Both sides also emphasized the need for equal progress to be made on increasing climate finance, support for adaptation and addressing loss and damage, stressing the need for all Parties to deliver on the mandated outcomes of COP28. The two sides also agreed to emphasize the role of peaceful nuclear energy as backbone of low-carbon electricity generation. The two parties stressed the need to reform international financial institutions and better mobilise more resources for the climate transition in developing countries while addressing inequalities. The Summit for a New Global Financial Pact to be held in Paris on 22-23 June will be an important milestone in this regard.
Both sides also welcomed the close cooperation between and contributions of their respective financial organisations, including Paris Europlace and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), to contribute successfully to the upcoming COP28.
The French side congratulated the UAE on the progress of its nuclear energy programme with commercial operations of three units at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant underway. The two parties welcomed progress in institutional cooperation to support the UAE's nuclear programme, including the conclusion of multiple MoUs and programmes in the areas of R&D, capacity building, and nuclear industrial cooperation in the areas of maintenance & engineering services, as well as collaboration between the French and Emirati supply chains, through “E-Fusion” initiative.
The UAE and French representatives reaffirmed their enduring commitment to joint projects, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, whose fifth anniversary was celebrated in November 2022, and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. They discussed new programmes of cooperation in the museum sector and in cultural and creative industries. Important initiatives have been implemented, notably in the sector of music in cooperation with the Philharmonie de Paris. They commended new cooperation on UAE archaeological sites with the support of the Louvre museum in Paris. Both parties are discussing a cultural cooperation plan related to supporting the restoration of the Grand Trianon of the Château de Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Celebrating the solid foundation of the UAE-France higher education cooperation, both parties signed a joint declaration on higher education during the UAE President's State Visit to France in July 2022. An intergovernmental agreement between the two parties is being explored to further enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of higher education. They applauded the opening of new programmes and campuses of French universities in the UAE and look forward to Rubika, the international gaming and animation school, opening in Abu Dhabi in September 2023. Both sides praised the strong momentum of French education in the UAE, thanks to the opening of new French schools and a new Alliance Française in Sharjah, as well as the ongoing programme of French language teaching in public schools.
Both sides praised the partnership between the Institut Pasteur and the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center in the areas of public health, innovation, scientific research and combatting infectious and emerging diseases. The parties discussed the next steps of the partnership, namely the communicable diseases programme in Paris, and the creation of educational and training programmes. These opportunities vary from postgraduate programmes at the Institut Pasteur Paris, and knowledge exchange through regional training courses in Abu Dhabi. They also commended the scientific partnership in cardiology, initiated by ICAN Institute with several major UAE institutions, as well as the long lasting medical residency program allowing each year 18 Emirati doctors to be trained in France, and the newly-initiated vocational training in nursing.
The co-chairs also discussed further cooperation in a number of other fields, including science and technology, artificial intelligence, food security, nuclear, intellectual property rights, anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing, cybersecurity, and fintech. Both sides also expressed mutual interest to foster collaboration in space exploration missions, human-space flight, and utilization of space data for climate change.
The two sides discussed a range of international and regional issues and expressed their continued commitment to peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. They emphasized the importance of dialogue and building bridges to achieve regional peace and security through various platforms, including the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership.
The two sides emphasized their dedication to deepening the UAE-France partnership through close coordination between the two countries in the UN Security Council during the UAE's term as an elected member. They discussed and expressed support for the UAE's presidency of the Security Council in June, and the UAE's chairmanship of the Counter Terrorism Committee throughout 2023.
Both sides highlighted their shared commitment to advancing mutual priority files, such as the climate change agenda, peace and security, as well as the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. They agreed to strengthening the effectiveness of the UN in promoting multilateralism, conflict prevention and peaceful solutions, peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and to addressing the rising threat of hate speech, intolerance, racism, and all forms of extremism as drivers of conflicts and obstacles to peace.
Upon conclusion of the Strategic Dialogue, UAE and French officials underscored the importance of their shared commitment to further deepening relations between the two countries across all fields.