By DEMAS TIEN
FRENCH Ambassador Pascal Maubert says France’s diplomatic relationship with PNG reached a new heights when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill met former French President Francois Hollande in June last year in Paris.
“It was a very constructive and substantive meeting including the development of teaching the French language in the country, facing together the challenge of climate change and also the dialogue on security issues in the region,” Maubert said.
During the 39th anniversary celebration of Bastille Day last Friday, he said that with the support of the European Union, “we can do a lot of things”.
“And this was discussed between the two leaders and it has paved the way for a new development of our bilateral relationship,” he said.
“This was confirmed by the new French President Emmanuel Macron who sent a message to O’Neill to underline that we enjoy the support of PNG in many instances and we are ready also to support Papua New Guinea in many instances.”
Department of Foreign Affairs deputy secretary (policy) Barbara Agirigolo said the relationship between the two countries had been strengthened through high-level political dialogue between the heads of governments and the business entities of both countries.
Agirigolo said the balance of trade between the two countries has fluctuated throughout the years with trade more or less being in favour of French.
“In 2015, for instance, the volume of trade was about K84.80 million in favour of France,” she said.
“Papua New Guinea deeply values and appreciates French’s contribution through the European Union funds which has built our capacity in various sectors.”
By DEMAS TIEN