Overview of France and Pakistan relations by Daniel Jouanneau, ambassador of France to Pakistan at Karachi Council on Foreign relations, Economic Affairs and Law
generals, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your presence. I am very grateful
to Lt. General Moinuddin Haider and to Mr. Ahsan Mukhtar Zubairi for their
invitation, and for this opportunity to exchange views with you on the relations
between our two countries at a time when France’s partnership with Pakistan is
for us more necessary than ever.
We need each other
to ensure security
Terrorism is a common challenge, for you as for us.
France’s security is at stake in
Afghanistan. We do not want to see the taliban back in power in Kabul. We do not
want Afghanistan to remain a shelter for terrorist groups which directly target
our country and our interests.
Through our military presence, under a
UN mandate, and our civilian aid, we participate in the building of an Afghan
national army, national law and order forces, and help create economic
development. A stable Afghanistan is critical for Pakistan’s stability and
Pakistan’s stability is essential for our own security.
When president Zardari visited Paris on
May 15th, 2009, President Nicolas Sarkozy and him decided to focus
our security cooperation on the fight against terrorism. An agreement will be
signed when President Sarkozy visits Islamabad in 2010.
We are encouraged to do more in this
field for two reasons.
Democracy is back in Pakistan. This
makes a difference for the French politicians, medias and public opinion. For
instance, over the past year, several delegations of influential MP came to
Pakistan to express their support to the democratic transition. Mrs. Fehmida
Mirza, Speaker of the National Assembly, has accepted the invitation of her
French counterpart and will officially visit the French National Assembly and
We are impressed by Pakistan’s determination to fight against
militancy. We value the huge effort and sacrifices of your army, as much as we
acknowledge the cost of the militants’ retaliation for hundred of innocent
civilians. But there is no other option than the way you have chosen. It is
essential for us that all forms of terrorism on the Pakistani soil be
eradicated, whether they target Pakistan or foreign countries.
foster economic development
Economic and social development
is the second essential key to stability.
Active member, from day
one, of the Group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan, France has pledged 300
million euros for economic projects, with an emphasis on IDP accommodation and
resettlement, energy ( hydro-electric power, energy efficiency) and
water-treatment in the main cities.
We also offer an assistance to
Pakistan through the European Union ODA program. We are well aware of your wish
to get a better access to the EU market. There are ongoing discussions between
the Pakistani Government and the European Commission in this respect. But let me
emphasize that the French market is already very open to Pakistani exports: over
the last years, your industry has continuously exported more than Pakistan
purchased from France.
We see Pakistan as a large
market, offering promising opportunities of partnerships and joint ventures.
Large French companies, including some world leaders in their field, have
invested in Pakistan : Total, Alcatel, Sanofi-Aventis, Areva, Lafarge ,
Hyperstar, Sofitel, L’Oreal. Last year, Total and Hyperstar have made the
decision to reinvest in Pakistan.
to promote common values
It is easier for us to
jointly promote common values with Pakistan since democracy is back. By
appointing a Minister for Human rights, and a Minister for Minorities, your
Government has sent an encouraging signal. Equality of opportunities between men
and women is a matter of priority for us in my country, and we can only support
everything Pakistan does in this regard.
France is a diverse and tolerant
society. Islam is part of our history, of our geography, and now part of our
culture and identity, since France is home to the largest Muslim community in
Europe. France respects Islam.
We believe in international law.
This is why we were opposed to the war in Iraq. This is why we ask for a full
implementation of the UN Security council resolutions on Palestine. We believe
that putting an end to Gaza population’s plight is a matter of extreme urgency.
What can France offer to Pakistan
First, a political
support. You can take it for granted : President Nicolas Sarkozy is personally
and strongly committed to supporting Pakistan. We want Pakistan to succeed:
against terrorism, against poverty, in the interest of South Asia’s stability.
Our friendship is as old as
Pakistan itself. Our military cooperation (Mirage III and V, Dolphin, Agosta 70
and Agosta 90 submarines) has fostered Pakistani independence, and built between
our Navies and Air Forces trust and mutual respect. Cooperation against
terrorism will build similar bonds between our armies and law and order forces.
Pakistani needs are huge in
areas where French companies have relevant state-of-the-art technologies to
offer, in particular in the four areas which our governments have agreed upon to
identify as priorities when Minister of State for External Trade, Anne-Marie
Idrac, visited Islamabad and Lahore last July: energy, urban environment,
Our economy has benefited a lot
from the European integration. For your economic development, for peace and
stability in South Asia, we hope that the day will come when SAARC reaches the
same level of trade interdependence as the EU (in the EU, trade with other
Member States represents for each one of them an average of 65 0/0: this figure
is 26 0/0 for ASEAN, and 5 0/0 for SAARC).
Last but not least, the French
language is worth being learnt. French, like English, is one of the only two
languages spoken and taught on the five continents, in over 50 countries.
Pakistanis display special gifts for foreign languages, as most of them are
already trilingual. French is being taught in our 3 Alliances françaises of
Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Mastering two world foreign languages will be a
big asset in the 21st century. This is why we encourage more Pakistani students
to go to France.