French PM arriving Friday
MANILA, Philippines–French Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault is set to arrive on Friday, a historic first official visit by a top French leader since Manila and Paris established diplomatic ties 65 years ago.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that Ayrault will arrive in Manila with a 130-member delegation, including ministers, Members of Parliament and businessmen, for a three-day visit.
“Prime Minister Ayrault’s visit does not only represent a milestone event in Philippine-French relations. More importantly, it sends a strong signal that France has taken serious notice of the positive developments in the country, and is ready to earnestly engage the Philippines as a vibrant and dynamic partner,” the DFA said in a statement.
The visit “will in infuse renewed dynamism to our bilateral ties and propel our partnership to greater heights,” the DFA said. France was among the first countries to recognize the presidency of the late President Corazon Aquino following the 1986 People Power revolution.
During his stay, Ayrault will meet with President Aquino to discuss bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.
He will also visit Cebu to witness the start of a public transport project partly funded by the French government’s development arm, L‘Agence Française de Développement.
The French leader’s visit is also expected to boost bilateral economic ties between the two countries, as key businessmen from France will get to meet local business leaders at a Philippine-French Business Forum on Oct. 20.