Bastille Day Celebrations in Islamabad (14th of July 2017)
- Speech of Ambassador H.E. Mrs. Martine Dorance
Islamabad,14th July 2017
"Honorable Prime Minister,
Honorable Federal Minister for Commerce,
Honorable members of Parliament,
Distinguished guests, Dear Excellencies, Dear friends,
A very good evening and a very warm welcome to all of you for the celebration of the French National Day.
To my compatriotes, I wish to say, bienvenue, je suis heureuse de vous retrouver ce soir, je sais combien la célébration de notre 14 juillet vous tient à cœur. Elle est aussi pour moi l’occasion de vous dire le plaisir que j’ai eu à vous accompagner au cours de ma mission au Pakistan qui s’achève cette année. Je vous souhaite le meilleur dans ce pays difficile mais ô combien accueillant, attachant, passionnant.
To my Pakistani friends:
To all of you, I wish to say that it is a great honor and privilege for me to welcome you tonight in this beautiful Serena Hotel.
We are gathered to celebrate our National day, the anniversary of the French revolution. The challenges the entire world faces today are still greater than in those days, but we may keep in mind the principles it established: liberty, equality, fraternity. By electing our new President, Emmanuel MACRON, the people of France have reaffirmed their faith in these values. They have also sent a message of hope, optimism and renewal. They have expressed their desire to strengthen the European Union, to combat the climate change and promote the Paris Agreement, and also to fight terrorism, everywhere, in order to bring back peace and development. This is the main program of France today and we wish to embark Pakistan on our side because Pakistan is an important country for us, it is a strong partner, and because Pakistan will also benefit from it. In the most painful moments Pakistan and France went through, we were in full solidarity.
Dear guests, we also are here to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. France was indeed one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan. We are old friends. The relations between France and Pakistan have, especially lately, greatly strengthened, and our bilateral dialogue has become more fruitful in many fields. After almost 3 years in Pakistan, I can measure the progress achieved. It is worth mentioning; Dear Mr. Minister for Commerce, that our economic relations have gained strength, our bilateral trade has almost doubled, the past year. Last April, a large delegation of MEDEF, the French Business Confederation that represents 800 000 companies visited Pakistan, after a lapse of over 10 years. It was a successful visit and we anticipate a new boost in our bilateral economic relationship.
During this year 2017, France is determined to celebrate our longstanding relation. We will organize a major seminar on archeology and heritage in Lahore in October, we will welcome more young Pakistanis going to France to study. France is proud to take part in training the future elite of Pakistan, and develop partnerships with HEC, The High Education Commission and with the great universities of Pakistan. We intend to develop people to people contacts and give more strength to our sport diplomacy. Sport conveys a strong message and the whole of France is united behind the city of Paris in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. You can see we are already in 2024 in this room. We hope this enthusiasm will be shared by Pakistan, a great Sport nation. Let me, here, very warmly, congratulate Pakistan for its victory of the last ICC Cricket Champions Trophy.
And finally, I have to say goodbye to you. I have already spent almost three years in your beautiful Pakistan and I have really enjoyed spending that time with you, doing all I could to strengthen the relations between our two countries, and between our people. I was able to visit many places in all different provinces. I was thus able to personally witness how fast Pakistan is developing and what a tremendous potential it still has.
I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your warm welcome always, for your cooperation, for your support, for your affection too. I will greatly miss you all. And I wish Pakistan the very best in the coming years.
Dear friends, I hope you will enjoy the evening, with a special word of thanks for our great French companies that sponsored this event, namely VINCI, TOTAL, THALES, ENGIE, SANOFI.
Let me also thank the team of SERENA HOTEL and all my colleagues of the French embassy who prepared, together, this lovely evening.
Most of all, many thanks TO YOU, dear Minister, many thanks TO YOU, dear guests, for honoring us with your presence.
Thank you, merci. Bahot Shukria."