United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan arrived in Paris on Sunday on his first foreign trip and with energy and transport deals on the agenda.
He is due to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on Monday.
The President’s visit to the United Arab Emirates comes after Joe Biden’s first Middle East tour as president, which also included a visit to Saudi Arabia, when Western powers sought energy generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for both Riyadh and the UAE. Desperate to increase oil production to increase prices. ,
A presidential adviser to the Elysee, referring to diesel supplies, told AFP that a key aspect of the visit is likely to be the unveiling of “guarantees on the quantum of hydrocarbon supplies to France by the UAE”.
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Dominated by hydrocarbons, UAE exports to France reached 1.5 billion euros in 2019, most of it refined petroleum products, but the emirate does not currently supply diesel to the country.
The Elysee source said France is seeking to “diversify its sources of supply in the context of the conflict in Ukraine”.
MoUs and contracts in the transport and waste treatment sectors are also expected to be signed during the three-day visit.
Relations between the two countries have grown significantly in recent years. The United Arab Emirates is home to the Louvre Museum’s only overseas branch, and in December it signed a contract for 80 Rafale warplanes worth a record 14 billion euros.
The United Arab Emirates is home to the largest French and Francophone expatriate community in the Gulf region.
The UAE’s de facto ruler over the years, Sheikh Mohammed, also known as MBZ, took office in May following the death of his half-brother, the long-sick Sheikh Khalifa.
The visit to France “certainly has a very symbolic dimension and shows … Macron and MBZ’s good personal relationship,” said Anne Gadel, a member of the North Africa Middle East Observatory at the Fondation Jean Jaures in Paris.
“This visit will be marked by energy issues in a context where European countries are concerned about rising inflation driven by high energy prices”, she said.
Both European powers and the US have sought to pressure the Gulf countries to increase oil production.
In choosing France as his first overseas destination – instead of the US – as president, Sheikh Mohamed of the United Arab Emirates may “send a signal … to the US … which means: we are quick to respond.” There are no US demands at all costs,” Gaddell said.
The United Arab Emirates has been Washington’s strategic partner for decades, but has asserted its independence in recent months, avoiding a February UN Security Council vote on a US-Albanian draft resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Is.
On Saturday, Biden invited his Emirati counterpart to visit the United States.
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