Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets French President Emmanuel Macron

Leaders hold discussions at Fontainebleau Palace near Paris

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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Wednesday, with the battle against the coronavirus pandemic and the recent evacuation of Kabul on the agenda.

Sheikh Mohamed met Mr Macron at Fontainebleau Palace, outside Paris.

The leaders discussed their countries' close ties and opportunities for development, UAE state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Mohamed conveyed the greetings of President Sheikh Khalifa to Mr Macron.

He said later on Twitter he was pleased to meet with the French leader to discuss their "shared interest in deepening the strong and longstanding strategic ties between the UAE and France".

"The meeting also touched on all regional and international issues of common concern and exchanged views on regional developments, especially the current developments in Afghanistan," Wam reported.

"Emmanuel Macron expressed the French republic's thanks and appreciation for the support provided by the UAE in the process of evacuating nationals of various countries from Afghanistan.

"The two sides stressed the importance of pushing efforts towards consolidating security, peace and stability in the region through diplomatic solutions and effective dialogue to achieve peoples' aspirations for construction, development and living in peace and stability."

France is a strategic partner of the UAE, and the two countries enjoy a close relationship, with strong economic and trade ties.

Most recently, the UAE facilitated the evacuation of French citizens from Kabul to Abu Dhabi after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban.

Sheikh Mohamed last visited Paris in 2018. He spent two days meeting counterparts and visited the Louvre, meeting Emirati students who were studying at French universities.

France has significant defence contracts with the UAE and has strong political, cultural and economic ties. The UAE has become France’s second-largest export destination in the Arabian Gulf.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied to Paris by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon, chairman of the board of directors of Abu Dhabi Airports, Ali Al Shamsi, deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council for National Security, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and member of the Executive Council, Mohammed Al Mazrouei, undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, and Hend Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the French Republic.

Updated: September 15, 2021, 7:59 PM