UAE, France launch new cultural initiative to boost ties

French Prime Minister visits the Louvre Abu Dhabi
French Prime Minister visits the Louvre Abu Dhabi Reuters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France announced on Saturday the launch of a new cultural initiative to strengthen the long-standing and fruitful relationship between the two countries.

The new initiative, UAE-France Cultural Dialogue 2018, was co-inaugurated at the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum by Noura Bint Mohammed Al-Kaabi, the UAE minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Visiting French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Philippe took a tour of the museum in the capital city, which was opened to the public in November 2017 after decade-long planning and construction.

The government of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, home to seven percent of the world's known "black gold" reserves, borrowed the name "Louvre" for 30 years and six months under a one-billion-euro contract ($1.16 billion) as part of an inter-governmental agreement between the UAE and France in 2007.

The French prime minister also talked about expanding mutual cultural collaborations in line with the UAE's "Year of Zayed" in 2018, which was named after the country's first president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.

The UAE-France Cultural Dialogue 2018 will see significant events in the two countries, including the Lyon and Sharjah's Light Festivals, My French Film Festival and Franco film festival.