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Oman – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and the secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Paris, May 30, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman, today.

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France and Oman

Political relations and visits

The President of the French Republic visited the Sultanate of Oman in February 2009. The Secretaries-General of the French and Omani Ministries of Foreign Affairs meet regularly in the framework of a bilateral strategic dialogue (last session in January 2015 in Muscat). A French-Omani joint commission on economic and cultural affairs meets every four years; the last session was held in January 2015 in Muscat.

Mr Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, visited Oman on 9 April 2015.

Economic relations

Over the last ten years, our bilateral trade has never totalled more than €700 million. It increased in 2013, reaching €584.5 million. It then stabilized at €518 million in 2015.
After dropping for the fourth consecutive year in 2013 (€197.6 million compared with €310 million in 2012), the trade surplus rose to €408 million in 2015. French imports from Oman, excluding aircraft, remain extremely limited. Our small market share can partly be explained by the influence of traditional suppliers (the United Arab Emirates, Japan, the United States and Saudi Arabia) and major emerging countries (India, China and South Korea), but it also remains smaller than that of our main European competitors (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium).
We are mainly present in the energy, water, environment and infrastructure sectors. In January 2016, the Suez-Dégremont group signed an agreement with the government of Oman on building and operating a seawater desalination facility. Lastly, an ambitious project to build a rail network of over 2000km (including 300km connected to the trans-GCC network), at an estimated overall cost of around €12 billion, offers major opportunities for French businesses in this sector.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our most active cooperation with Oman is in the fields of culture and heritage. France supports the Sultanate’s efforts to enhance its heritage.
French teaching is also thriving in the current conditions. After opening French sections in higher education in 2007, the authorities have decided to introduce French in four pilot schools, for the last two years of secondary education. The French school in Muscat, meanwhile, has seen its number of pupils double in five years. In September 2015, the school moved to modern premises, on a 10,000m2 site kindly provided by Sultan Qaboos, after completion of the building project that began in 2012.
Lastly, the French and Omani authorities have decided to renovate the Bait Faransa Omani-French Museum together.

Military cooperation

Our bilateral defence relations, established some twenty years ago, have solid foundations. They involve regular visits by French and Omani military authorities and are structured around four main areas: port calls by French military vessels in Oman, overflights by French military aircraft, reciprocal hosting of military trainees and monitoring of arms contracts. The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Pierre de Villiers, visited Muscat from 12 to 14 April 2015.

Updated: 18/04/2016



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