Advancing Strategic Bilateral Relations: Highlights from the 16th UAE-France Strategic Dialogue (22 May 2024)


17 May 2024, Abu Dhabi: Building upon the longstanding strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and the French Republic, and consistent with the guidance of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and H.E. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, the 16th session of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue was held in Abu Dhabi.

crédits:EAA (executive authority of Abu Dhabi).

Co-chaired by H.E. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, and H.E. Anne-Marie Descotes, Secretary-General of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Strategic Dialogue aims to further enhance cooperation between the UAE and France in key areas of interest.

crédits : EAA (Executive Authority of Abu Dhabi).

Economic discussions at the Strategic Dialogue focused on continuous efforts to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries across a wide array of fields, including trade and investment; energy and renewable energy; infrastructure; aviation; food security; advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity; green and sustainable financing; intellectual property rights; as well as anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism. During the session, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to efforts aimed at fostering shared opportunities and resolving business and investment challenges in both countries.
The UAE and France have continued their successful partnership and industrial cooperation in nuclear energy, including through joint programs focused on training and R&D, operation and maintenance. The two parties are currently exploring ways to further expand their cooperation in a range of areas potentially including new builds and Small Nuclear Reactors.

Both countries have consistently emphasized the role of nuclear energy in decarbonizing their energy systems in multilateral discussions, and will continue to encourage international financial institutions to support the expansion of nuclear capacities with the objective of tripling of the nuclear capacity worldwide. As expressed during COP 28, the UAE and France have reaffirmed their support to the development of a global market for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.
Regarding bilateral cooperation in the field of space, the UAE and France remain committed to pursuing further collaboration in space exploration with a particular focus on Lunar missions. The UAE and France have also confirmed their shared commitment to fostering greater utilization of space data in addressing climate change challenges. In order to reinforce the growing ties between their respective space ecosystems, the parties have also decided to expand the Space Sub-Committee of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue in order to include key players from major UAE and French space entities, including but not limited to space centers, industrial entities, SMEs, start-ups, universities, and operators.

In relation to education, both sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to the continued expansion of the French school network in the UAE which is currently the largest in the GCC accommodating over 12,000 students. They reviewed the continued importance of bilateral collaboration in higher education with a particular emphasis on the new strategic plan (2024-2028) developed for Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD). SUAD recently launched the Institute for Oceans (IFO) at COP28 and is focusing on new academic orientations that are aligned with the emerging opportunities and strategic priorities of the UAE. Both parties also welcomed the scheduled graduation of the inaugural student cohort from 42 Abu Dhabi for June 2024, and the significant potential for these graduates to play a pivotal role in the ongoing digital transformation of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

The UAE and France have continued their successful cooperation in the cultural and creative industries. The two parties welcomed the ongoing success of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is the most visited museum in the region, and celebrated the launch in February 2024 of MuseoPro, a dedicated training program for museum professionals co-curated by experts from France and the United Arab Emirates. The Strategic Dialogue also discussed the restoration of the Grand Trianon of Versailles and the UAE’s prospect to support this important project.

In 2024, the UAE and France aim to continue to deepen their cooperation in the fields of music, arts and crafts. In June 2024, the French Cultural and Creative immersion program will take place in the UAE, and new projects dedicated to culture and youth will further add to the growing creative and cultural relationship between the two countries.

In relation to health cooperation, both sides discussed various opportunities for collaboration, with the aim of facilitating knowledge sharing, exchange of areas of expertise and driving advancements in public health, innovation and scientific research. Members of the Health Subcommittee further emphasized their shared commitment to enhancing international patient care expertise and expanding academic residency programmes.

In addition, the Strategic Dialogue included a productive discussion on strategic issues of regional and international significance. They also examined a range of regional security issues and expressed their continued commitment to peace, stability, and security, stressing the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza; unhindered humanitarian access; a concrete path to the peace process based on the two-state solution; and de-escalation of regional tensions. Both parties underlined the need to find a solution to the war in Ukraine in line with international law, and help to alleviate the humanitarian situation on the ground. They commended the success of the Paris international humanitarian conference for Sudan and its neighbors of April 15th and welcomed their respective contributions to the benefit of civilian populations. They agreed on the importance of achieving a permanent and immediate ceasefire, finding a peaceful solution to the crisis and the restoration of civilian-led rule in Sudan. They praised the constructive cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the UN Security Council during the term of the UAE as a non-permanent member. Additionally, both parties agreed on the necessity of continuing to confront extremism in all of its forms and manifestations that threaten regional and international security.

At the conclusion of the 16th session of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue, both sides emphasized their unwavering commitment and continued dedication to deepening and expanding the longstanding strategic partnership between the UAE and France in fields of mutual interest.