Emmanuel Macron welcomed the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the Elysee Palace on Monday to discuss, in particular, the supply of fuel in a context of rising oil prices.
In traditional dress, Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed Al Nahyan went up the red carpet at midday in the courtyard of the Elysée before being greeted effusively by his French counterpart and his wife Brigitte.
The two leaders were to meet over lunch before meeting in the evening for a state dinner in the majestic setting of the Grand Trianon at Versailles in the presence of a hundred guests.
As tradition dictates, Mr. Macron will present Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed Al Nahyan with the insignia of the Grand Cross of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, and will offer him as a gift a 1535 edition of the map of the German geographer Lorenz Fries of the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf.
Arrived on Sunday, Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed Al Nahyan is making his first trip abroad to Paris since he succeeded his deceased half-brother in May as president of the Emirates, a rich oil country in the Gulf which notably includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
This decision “highlights the historical ties between the two countries but also the potential for further cooperation” between them, said the diplomatic adviser to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Anwar Gargash.
The visit should be marked by “the announcement of Emirati guarantees concerning the quantities of hydrocarbons (diesel only) supplied to France”which “seeks to diversify its sources of supply in the context of the conflict in Ukraine”, according to the Elysée.
Dominated by hydrocarbons, Emirati exports to France reached an all-time high of 1.5 billion euros in 2019, a large part of which was refined petroleum products, but the Emirates do not currently supply diesel to the country.
Signatures of a strategic agreement on the energies of the future (hydrogen, renewable energies), contracts in transport and waste treatment are also planned before the departure of Sheikh Mohamed ben Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday.
Discussions between the two presidents were also to focus on their “joint efforts” to reinforce ” stability and security” in the Middle East, in particular on the Iranian nuclear issue, according to the Elysée.
Franco-Emirati relations have deepened considerably in recent years, culminating in December with a record contract worth 14 billion euros for 80 Rafale fighter jets. France also has a military base in Abu Dhabi.
During his state visit, MBZ must notably go to the Senate, the National Assembly and Matignon.