During an official visit to the UAE, the French Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral EdouardGuillaud gave an exclusive interview to the official journal of UAE Armed Forces, the NationShield. Admiral Guillaudwho witnessed the closing ceremony of the UAE-French joint military exercise codenamed ‘Gulf 2012’lauded thejoint UAE-France cooperation in defense and training, affirming that the two countries have been collaborating for years now, and that plans are under way to take this cooperation forward. The Gulf 2012 exercise which took place between UAE and French Forces included participation from the Army, Navy and Air forces of both countries.
In what way can the countries of the Middle East, particularly the UAE collaborate with France to ensure peace and security regionally and globally?
As you know, we have a very old relationship with the Middle East in general and with the UAE more specifically. Since then, we have been cooperating at all levels: at the political level between the governments, at the diplomatic level between our administrations and at the military level. Since 1996, the Gulf exercise has been a routine military training held every four years as part of joint military exercises under the 1995 defense treaty which has been renewed in May 2009.
How do you evaluate cooperation between France and the UAE in the military field?
Cooperation has been increasing not only in the region in the military field as has been manifested in Libya, but also in government and diplomatic areas. We do cooperate in Afghanistan which is out of the region. And we are making progress every year ever since the French joint base was established in Abu Dhabi two years ago. Our ties with the Air Force, Army, Navy, and special forces have never been so strong.. No doubt that our mutual defense and security cooperation can be described as a “strong and confident long-term partnership”.
The UAE plays a vital role in providing humanitarian assistance globally. What is your opinion about this effort?
It is of paramount importance as the UAE is one of the leaders of the Arab and Muslim world. In this respect, we very much appreciate all the humanitarian help and relief the UAE have provided throughout the world.
The UAE is one of the key players in the global exhibition industry, and hosts the IDEX atAbu Dhabi and Dubai Air Show. What do you think of these exhibitions?
IDEX and Dubai Air Show (DAS) are now among the key Defense shows in the world. Though I never had the opportunity to attend IDEX, my colleagues and industry leaders who participated in this event all considered that it is one of the must attended events on the defense calendar.
I was at Dubai Air Show which was impressive in terms of the number of participating companies and the level of attending delegations. TheExhibition as a whole was outstanding with an air show very well organized, perfectly well-timed during which the UAE acrobatic team “Fursan” and the French “Patrouille de France” made a stunning demonstration of their know-how, discipline and mastery.
Do you think the UAE can cooperate in the training of the armed forces?
Yes. We already collaborate and we have increased this cooperation. As you know, we have discussed the issue of training naval forces. We have already trained together in the field of urban warfare. We are also training in the air warfare domain and the French Air Force’ pilots regularly attend high level multinational courses organized by UAE Air Force and Air Defense. It is very professional and we do appreciate that. So, we will continue to raise the level of our cooperation. That is quite obvious.
We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the UAE National Day we would like a few words from Your Excellency about this occasion.
As UAE is celebrating its 40thanniversary of the National Day, I am proud to acknowledge the professionalism of the UAE Armed forces which have become a strong and faithful partner for our bilateral friendship.