The UAE is participating in the Francophonie Summit, which began today in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, as a participating member, through a delegation led by Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State.
The UAE is participating for the first time as a participating member, after previously participating as an observer, which reflects the level of appreciation for its role in promoting the values of security, peace, democracy, respect for human rights and cultural diversity.
The announcement of the UAE’s permanent membership in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie was also made during the summit.
Addressing the global event, Nusseibeh said, "I am delighted to thank you on behalf of the UAE’s government and people. It is a great honour to confirm the attendance of the UAE as a participating member in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie."
He added that this recognition reflects the deeply-rooted friendship and cooperation ties between the UAE and French-speaking countries, as well as corroborates the UAE’s commitment to the values and principles championed by the international organisation.
"We, in the UAE, are aware that the French language promotes cultural diversity, as it carries forward the values of tolerance and cultural pluralism. The French language is also an important part of the human heritage," he further added.
Nusseibeh also led the UAE delegation in the ministerial meetings of the organisation, which took place over two days in Yerevan in preparation for the summit. The delegation included Yacoub Yousef Hassan Al Hosani, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Organisations Affairs; Mohammed Saif Hilal Al Shehhi, Director of the United Nations Administration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Salem Suhail Al Niyadi, Head of the Francophone Affairs Section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Tariq Al Shehhi, Officer in Charge of the Francophone Section at the UAE Embassy in Paris; Mariam Zayed Al Mazrouei, Director of the Minister of State’s Office, and Alia Ibrahim Al Hosani, Head of the Events and Activities Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Several official delegations representing member countries, as well as countries attending as observers, participated in the ministerial meetings, which were held under the theme, "Living together in solidarity, shared humanistic values, and respect for diversity: a source of peace and prosperity in La Francophonie."
Nusseibeh in statements to ARMENPRESS, stressed that the UAE has been participating in the organisation as an observer since 2010, but it will participate in the current summit as a participating member for the first time. He hailed the strong ties between the UAE and Armenia, highlighting the possibility of further promoting cultural ties in the future.
"For us, the French language is extremely important, as it is the language of dialogue between different cultures, and many people call French the language of peaceful dialogue," he further said.
The minister expressed his sorrow at the death of the Armenian-French singer, Charles Aznavour, who left behind a great legacy thanks to which the then President Serzh Sargsyan granted him the Armenian citizenship.
On the sidelines of the summit, Nusseibeh met with a number of students learning in the Arabic Studies Discipline at Yerevan State University, who had visited the UAE as part of an academic programme, upon an initiative of the UAE Embassy in Armenia. The students visited Al Bastakiya and Al Etihad Museum.
In the meantime, Dr. Jassim Mohammed Al Qasemi, the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, opened the "Emirates Translation Hall" at the Yerevan State University Faculty of Oriental Studies in a vivid example of the UAE commitment to promoting culture dialogue between the member states of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
As part of the summit’s activities, the UAE participated in a francophone festival that was held the "La Francophonie Village" at Liberty Square in downtown Yerevan, where Emirati troupes performed heritage shows inspired by Emirati folklore.