Embassy celebrates National Day with gala reception
THE TIMES KUWAIT REPORT
French Ambassador H.E. Claire Le Flecher held a gala reception at her residence on 12 July to mark the National Day of France. A large gathering of diplomats and distinguished guests attended the celebrations, which commemorates the 14 July 1789 historic storming of the Bastille fortress that marked the beginning of the French revolution.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Ambassador Le Flecher expressed her gratitude to the chief guest of the evening, the Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Jarrah Al-Sabah for his esteemed presence.
She said that France and Kuwait shared a similar vision of the future of the region, pointing out that Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah’s recent visit to Paris to meet French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna was an endorsement of that view.
She noted that the two ministers also welcomed the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, hoping that this would have a positive effect on the situation in Lebanon and Yemen, and they also encouraged the spirit of cooperation in the upcoming Baghdad 3 conference, which aims to promote regional communication and development.
She said France and Kuwait have a lot in common in their quest for regional stability, and we both are sincerely engaged in promoting peace in the Middle East, and notably for a viable solution for the Palestinian people.
Ambassador Le Flecher said that France had become the largest European customer for the clean fuel project, and apart from trade, their long-term investment relationship with Kuwait was a testament to the trust and depth of interests that governed their relationship, and added that their historic cultural and educational cooperation was also a testament to the strong friendship.
She revealed that the issue of visas was also discussed during the ministerial meeting, noting that a positive outcome was reached by the Visa Committee from within the European Commission in Brussels in order to allow a visa mechanism with the so-called CASCADE for Kuwaiti citizens, which means that Kuwaitis will soon be able to obtain a long-term Schengen visa in their first application itself. Elaborating on the French National Day, she said it was a cherished tradition that not only occupies a special place in the hearts of all French citizens but also in the hearts of all our francophone friends around the world.
“This celebration is a great commitment to reviving the cultural heritage of France, as our streets are filled with vibrant performances, people wear blue, white and red, and the melodies of Edith Piaf and Maurice Ravel fill the atmosphere. We celebrate the French way of life that has inspired countless poets, writers and thinkers throughout history,” she added.
She said that on their National Day, they not only commemorate the 14 July, 1789 historic storming of the Bastille fortress, which marked the beginning of the French revolution, but they also commemorate Federation Day, a year later, in 1790, which brought French citizens to celebrate together. The national day commemorates both a revolution which symbolizes the quest for freedom, equality and fraternity, and a celebration, the year after, which conveys messages of unity and harmony. This double meaning of our national day tells a lot about our country, and the values it wants to convey. The love of freedom and democracy, that is vivid in Kuwait, matches this ideal.
Ambassador Le Flecher however noted that this year, like last year, “our joy is unfortunately clouded by the unprovoked war in Ukraine launched by Russia, with its load of human rights violations which I have no doubt will be investigated by the international criminal courts. We can only hope that all this stops as early as possible, with a victory for Ukraine. And if there are negotiations, it cannot be at the expense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a UN member. I know all Kuwaitis share this approach, because they have experienced themselves the suffering of an invasion, that is why Kuwait early on emphasized the pre-eminence of internationally agreed principles, including the intangibility of territorial integrity.”
In her concluding remarks she praised her fellow French citizens in Kuwait saying that their commitment, dynamism, and spirit of solidarity contributed greatly to the quality of the relations they enjoy with their Kuwaiti friends.
She also said that she was aware of their concerns, particularly on the issues of family visas and driving licenses, and took the opportunity to assure them of the Embassy’s tireless action on these subjects. “Our Minister raised these issues with the Kuwaiti Minister for Foreign Affairs during his visit to Paris, so be sure that they are taken into account at the highest level, and we have received assurances that the Kuwaiti authorities will work quickly to lift these restrictions.