French President Emmanuel Macron announced a trip to the United Arab Emirates to mourn the death of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and show his support for the ruling family, with whom France maintains commercial and military ties.
Macron will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, his government said in a statement, to pay tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, who died on Friday, and “express his support for his brother, the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the rest of the family, and all the Emirati people”.
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Sheikh Khalifa, president of the United Arab Emirates since 2004, has aligned the Gulf state more closely with the West. He was buried and funeral prayers were held on Friday.
The UAE’s top oil producer is seen by France as a strategic partner in the region, and trade ties, which include the delivery of military equipment and energy infrastructure, were strengthened during Macron’s first presidential term.
During a high-profile visit to Dubai in November, Macron showed a good relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed, and business delegations from both states signed a series of major deals.
The UAE has ordered 80 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters through a 17 billion euro ($19.20 billion) weapons contract, which the French say will secure thousands of local jobs.
French energy giants TotalEnergies and Engie also won billion-euro deals.
Paris has a permanent military base in the capital of the Emirates.
See More information:
‘His legacy will live on’, world leaders pay tribute to UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa
‘Big loss’: Senior US officials mourn UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed: UAE ‘lost their righteous son’ after Sheikh Khalifa’s death