October 12, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement as he concluded his first bilateral visit to France:
“I would like to thank Minister Fabius for his warm welcome and for the excellent exchange we had.
“Canada and France, as allies, partners and friends, share concern about the situations in Syria, Mali, the Sahel region, Iran and the broader Middle East. It was good to compare notes and explore ways that our two countries can work together to address these important challenges. The Syrian crisis in particular has our personal attention—a message I shared with members of the Syrian opposition in a separate meeting.
“Minister Fabius and I also discussed others areas of collaboration between our two countries, including the potential to build on our existing commercial and people-to-people linkages. To that end, we committed to renewing the Canada-France Youth Mobility Agreement. This will make it easier for Canadian and French youth to move between our two countries.
“One of the major risks to the global economy continues to be the Eurozone crisis, which dominated my discussion with France’s Minister Delegate to European Affairs, Bernard Cazeneuve. I underscored Canada’s vigilance with respect to the situation, and emphasized my expectation and confidence that the European Union will take the steps necessary to finally put this crisis behind it.
“Canada and France enjoy a mature and strong bilateral relationship—one that is rooted in our deep historic, cultural and linguistic ties, and one that allows for frank discussions of important matters.
“I also had the very welcome opportunity to visit the Musée d’Orsay, which is currently hosting a unique and informative exhibition directed by Canadian stage designer Robert Carsen.”
Baird’s visit builds on the momentum established by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s meeting with President François Hollande in Paris in June 2012.
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