An Important Diplomatic Visit

An Important Diplomatic Visit

During the first week of December, French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a 2-day visit to the Gulf, with stops in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). President Macron's visit comes against a backdrop of growing regional tensions and in a context of further regional disengagement on the part of the United States.

The French President was received by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, at the Dubai Expo 2020. Other prominent business figures attended the meeting between the two leaders and several deals were signed upon its conclusion. These agreements include a deal between Adnoc, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Total, and an accord between Mubadala and the French Ministry of the Economy, as well as several security agreements.

On Twitter, the Emirati Crown Prince declared: “I was pleased to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to the UAE today. We enjoyed productive talks building on the longstanding bonds of friendship and strategic cooperation between our two countries and witnessed the signing of several new partnerships in a range of fields.

This diplomatic visit demonstrated the current strength of diplomatic relations between France and the UAE: investments by both parties in their respective economies have been growing over the past years while France also has a permanent military base in Abu Dhabi.

President Macron’s visit also saw the signing of a landmark agreement to sell no fewer than 80 Rafale fighter jets after nearly a decade of on-and-off negotiations. The deal was sealed after important negotiations with the United States for the purchase of F-35 fighter jets slowed down against the backdrop of increased concerns expressed by Washington over relations with China and the prevalence of Huawei's 5G network.