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France to continue close ties with US despite uncertainties in Trump policies: Foreign Minister

New Delhi: France`s Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, on Monday said Paris will continue to work closely with the new U.S administration irrespective of the uncertainty in President-elect Donald Trump`s policies.

Delivering the seventh R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), here, Mr Jean-Marc said, “France and the United States are allies, and this will not change. France will swiftly develop close ties with the new administration. No stone will remain unturned to convince them that the interests of the United States are better protected when we together combat climate change under the frame work of a collective approach.

“Speaking on the theme of “The European Union, an Indispensable Actor in an Uncertain World”, he said, the European Union and France have a shared history with the United States, and shared values.

“These common interests, I am sure, will continue to govern our relations with this country in the long term. And we will find a common ground on most crucial challenges of our times, notably the fight against terrorism, to which the United States, like the European Union, contributes at a global scale,” he said.

The Minister, however, said “in the face of unilateral temptation or the idea that deals can suffice to resolve world affairs, France will make its voice heard.”

He described increasing the populism and nationalism in many nations of Europe and outside as the biggest challenge.He said Brexit result was unexpected and was a great shock. However, he said, the EU is ready to negotiate with the UK once it notifies its intention to leave the organisation and activates Article 50 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.

“The choice of the United Kingdom to leave the EU has, of course, given rise to speculation regarding the future of the European Union with the United Kingdom. My conviction is that Europe will be able to surmount all these fleeting difficulties and that the European construction will continue to offer a future to our continent,” Ayrault said.

He said: “On the morrow of the British referendum and many times since, EU Member States have reiterated their trust in the European Construction, their attachment to what makes up our identity and our values, which are not empty rhetoric but our reality and our plan”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said ambitious European projects are underway to ensure the security of its citizens, for combating terrorism and it`s financing as well as all forms of trafficking.

“In the coming years, it is planning to bring decisive responses to global issues and continue to support a world order based on the primacy of law, the peaceful settlement of differences and multilateralism, he said.Coming March this year, the European Construction will celebrate its 60th anniversary, marking “a decisive step in the re-launch of the European project, the Minister said.

“In the uncertain world now ahead of us, this original and unique (European) Union is more necessary than ever before”, the Minister said.Saying that the European Union has the will and the capacity to bring collective responses to the challenges of the world, the Minister said the EU and India will find ways and means to respond effectively to common challenges that they must face.

Pointing out that India and Europe are both victims of terrorism, the Minster said we can meet the challenge of terrorists jointly, by cooperating more closely in the monitoring of terrorist groups, in the fight against radicalisation or against terrorism financing networks, while respecting the fundamental values we have in common, but are unfortunately not common to all.

This Lecture, instituted in 2010, is organised annually in the memory of ORF founding chairman RK Mishra, who was a great scholar and thinker.Welcoming Jean-Marc, ORF Director Sunjoy Joshi said that there is a need to identify the major themes and challenges of the next few decades and how India and the EU can work together.

“To my mind, there are three areas that lend themselves to us, he said. One, Indian Ocean region, two, digital sphere and three, West Asia region,” he said.Joshi said the developments that take place in West Asia impact both Indian and France, more significantly India with a 7-8 million strong diaspora living in the region.

“Any developments there implicate India and Europe directly. Therefore there is a need to work together, think together and strategise together,” he added.

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