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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Abu Dhabi crown prince to meet Macron in Paris

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and President Emmanuel Macron will address a number of issues, among them regional developments which are likely to include Afghanistan

AFP , Tuesday 14 Sep 2021
Mohammed bin Zayed. AFP
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. File photo AFP
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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will head to Paris on Wednesday to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, state media in the UAE reported.

Sheikh Mohammed, the United Arab Emirates' de facto leader, would discuss with Macron "the prospects of consolidating strategic cooperation" between the two countries, the official WAM news agency said on Tuesday.

The two men will address a number of issues, among them regional developments which are likely to include Afghanistan.

Tensions have simmered in Afghanistan since the United States completed its withdrawal last month, with sporadic street protests erupting in cities and armed resistance to Taliban rule in the Panjshir valley.

France said on Monday it will contribute 100 million euros ($118 million) for emergency humanitarian work in Afghanistan after the Taliban grabbed power.

The Taliban's takeover sparked a chaotic exit for the Americans and their allies after 20 years in the country.

During the evacuation, France set up an air bridge at the UAE's Al-Dhafra air base for people evacuated from Kabul.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed on Monday there were "very few" French nationals still stranded in Afghanistan, saying that they only numbered in the dozens.

Some 2,800 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by France, including 2,600 Afghans, he said.

The UAE has set up an air bridge to deliver tonnes of aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, a Kabul airport operations manager told AFP on Saturday.

The wealthy UAE, a close US ally, is one of a number of Gulf states that have been key staging posts for evacuation flights for foreigners and Afghans, alongside Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

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