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The Emirates and France: A Long-Lasting Alliance
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan prior to a working lunch at Fontainebleau Castle on September 15, 2021 in Fontainebleau, France. (Chesnot/Getty Images)

The Emirates and France: A Long-Lasting Alliance

Al-Ittihad, UAE, September 15

The UAE’s relationship with France is not a product of the moment. Rather, it has existed for decades and is almost 50 years old. This relationship has never passed through intersecting or intermittent lines, but has been based on continuous and solid foundations that have grown deeper and stronger over the years. What distinguishes France from other allies of the UAE? I heard the answer to this question from former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spoke about what is happening in Syria with great sadness and described it as the destruction of the most precious human wealth on earth, which is the “wealth of diversity.” The UAE shares this worldview and humanitarian vision with France: the belief that human civilization is worth protecting and preserving at any cost. There is an unparalleled human diversity in the Emirates, and the French community in the country, consisting of nearly 30,000 people, is an inseparable part of this symphony, whose hymns reach more than 200 nationalities. Recently, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, visited Paris. Coincidentally, before His Highness’ arrival in France, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy announced that His Highness had been awarded the institute’s prestigious Scholar-Statesman Award for his efforts to achieve peace between the UAE and Israel, in addition to his role in promoting religious tolerance in the region. After his talks with President Emmanuel Macron, His Highness tweeted: “I was pleased to meet French President Macron in Paris. We discussed strengthening our strategic relations, in addition to issues and developments in the region and the importance of maintaining security and stability to spark development and prosperity.” Indeed, the UAE has invested in cultural diversity through two great French institutions that have been copied, for the first time in history, outside of France. The first is the prestigious Sorbonne University, which opened a branch in Abu Dhabi that soon became a distinguished center of learning and research. The second is the Louvre Museum, which established its first branch abroad, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, about which His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said on its opening day in 2017: “The opening of the Louvre sends a positive message from the UAE to the whole world, that we’re able to create hope for the peoples of this region, despite their wars and conflicts.” Following His Highness’ tweet, Macron also tweeted: “By helping each other evacuate vulnerable people from Kabul, and taking measures to promote dialogue and investment in culture, the UAE and France are working together to make the Middle East a region of peace and cooperation.” – Abdullah Al-Awadi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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