French PM invites Aquino to visit Paris next year-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
VISITING French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has invited President Benigno Aquino III to embark on an official visit to France early next year.
In a joint press conference after the two leaders witnessed the signing of two agreements between the two countries Friday night, the French leader asked Aquino to personally open the exhibition in a museum in April next year.
"I would like here, in the presence of the press, to extend an official invitation to yourself, Mr. President, to come and open the exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly next year. This would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase this goodwill between our two countries," he said through an interpreter.
One of the agreements that the two countries inked was the Philippines' grand exhibition at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris from April 9 to July 21, 2013.
The exhibition will put the Philippines in the cultural map of France and is expected to attract thousands of French, European, and international visitors, as well as generate wide media exposure, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
Side events will be organized during the Exhibition to include workshops on Philippine cuisine, Philippine dances, Philippine musical instruments, and others, it added.
Ayrault also paid tribute to the strength of the President and the Filipino people to rise above seemingly insurmountable odds, saying this trait was shared by the people of France.
"I would also like to pay tribute to your people, Mr. President, and I would like to pay tribute to the strength of the people and to your own personal struggle for liberty, for freedom, for democracy," Ayrault said.
"You have always fought also for the development of your country and for justice, and your country is grateful to you. And you have had to face several ordeals throughout your life but you have always carried on the struggle," he added.
He also cited the President's parents, former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino, whom he said served as examples to never give up the fight for democracy and freedom.
"You had to succeed your mother; this was one ordeal after also the death of your father killed by the dictatorship. But Mr. President, you never gave in, you never gave up. And I would like to salute you for the strength you showed and for your ability to fight for democracy, for justice, for human rights," Ayrault said.
"And these are values that we share, you, the Philippines, and we, the French," he added.
He added that he "saluted" the peaceful method by which the President uses to settle disputes, whether international or domestic.
"I could not but salute the method that you used Mr. President. You have always opted for peaceful settlement of disputes be it domestically or be it with other countries," Ayrault said.
For his part, Aquino cited the important role of France in the Philippines' development, saying they were an important partner in upholding democracy and pursuing development.
The President expressed his appreciation to Ayrault for his country's assistance to the Philippines.
Aquino said France's official development assistance (ODA) mechanism, particularly in the areas of Climate Change, Sustainable Urban Development, and Capacity-building Projects for Local Government Units had helped the Philippines achieve its development priorities.
"France has remained a partner in upholding democracy and pursuing development: I thanked the Prime Minister for the continued contribution of France to achieving our development priorities through the Official Development Assistance mechanism, particularly in the areas of Climate Change, Sustainable Urban Development, and Capacity-building Projects for Local Government Units," the President said.
He pointed out that Ayrault's visit highlighted the interest of French businesses of the country's "efforts at reform and the positive economic developments" as both leaders committed to "accelerate the pace of our economic cooperation."
"Prime Minister Ayrault's visit here -- and his business delegation who accompanies him -- sends a strong signal... that French companies are noticing our efforts at reform and the positive economic developments these have brought to our country," the President said.
"The Prime Minister and I agreed to accelerate the pace of our economic cooperation. Part of achieving this goal is easing the barriers that impede the growth of two-way trade and investment," he added.
Accompanied by a 130-member delegation, comprised of Ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen, Ayrault's visit marked the first ever visit of a French leader to the Philippines since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947. (SDR/Sunnex)