The Emirati President “MBZ” in Paris: a symbolic visit

France’s best friend in the Arabian Peninsula arrived in Paris on Sunday July 17 for a two-day official visit. This trip has a historic dimension since it is the first official trip abroad since Mohamed bin Zayed (“MBZ”) took over as President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in mid-May. The arrival of the strongman of this extremely wealthy state made up of seven emirates, should not however lead to a myriad of hard and stumbling contracts. “The main focus of the visit will focus on energy with expected announcements of Emirati guarantees concerning the quantities of diesel supplied to France” specifies a diplomatic source.

Dominated by hydrocarbons, UAE exports to France reached an all-time high of 1.5 billion euros in 2019, much of it refined petroleum products, but the Emirates do not currently supply diesel to France. . Since the start of the war in Ukraine, France, which, like the European Union, has decided on an embargo on Russian black gold, has regularly appealed to the Emirati ally. “The UAE is ready to help France but they can’t work miracles either,” observes Bertrand Besancenot, former French ambassador to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Emirati oil production, like Saudi, is close to its ceiling. It is therefore difficult to believe that the UAE will fill the gap induced by the embargo against Moscow.” On tour in the Gulf, Joe Biden has just suffered a polite refusal from Saudi Arabia, which reaffirmed that it was not in a position to raise the level of its production of black gold to stop the surge in prices.


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