Sarkozy arrives in UAE to start state visit

By Xinhua

Abu Dhabi : French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived here Tuesday, starting a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the official Emirates News Agency reported.

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Sarkozy was greeted by his UAE counterpart Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other senior UAE officials at the airport, the report said.

France and the UAE are expected to sign an intergovernmental agreement setting the framework for cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy during Sarkozy’s stay in the Gulf country.

It was reported that the two countries would also sign an agreement which would grant the French navy a permanent military base in the UAE.

With the pact, France would be able to station its naval units in the UAE across the Gulf from Iran, like the United States and a few other Western nations with a military base in the crucial oil-producing region.

The agreement would add to the long-standing military cooperation with the Arab Gulf states including the UAE and Qatar.

The UAE is the last stop of Sarkozy’s first Gulf tour since taking office last May, which has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

During his stay in Riyadh, Sarkozy and Saudi King Abdullah signed four cooperation agreements, including one for expanding oil and gas cooperation, two others for university training in France and professional training, and a fourth one for “political dialogue.”

In Doha, France and Qatar signed two memoranda of understanding on cooperation on traditional energies as well as nuclear power and renewable energies.