Baird Meets with French Counterpart

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Location: Paris, France

Description: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird meets with Laurent Fabius, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs. The pair focus on deepening an already strong and broad-based relationship between France and Canada. They also discuss global issues of mutual importance, including the Syria crisis.

Duration: 5:22

File Size: 90.4 MB

Transcript

The Hon. Laurent Fabius: We have just had a very friendly and very productive meeting with John Baird. Our discussions confirmed that France and Canada have strongly similar views on the responses to be made to international crises. We talked about the Sahel, we talked about Syria, we talked about Iran. On the Syria issue in particular, we decided to strengthen our cooperation on the ground.

We also discussed our shared desire for the European Union and Canada to conclude, if possible by the end of the year, the negotiations on their Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. This is a very ambitious agreement, but it is a desirable one, and it is expected be an asset for the priority that each of us has, namely growth, employment on both sides of the Atlantic. This discussion was also an opportunity to confirm the quality of the partnership between Canada and France. We have a very strong friendship. We have very strong economic, cultural and human relations, all of which must lead us to contemplate enhanced cooperation, including with regard to cross-investments, youths and, in general, all economic issues.

Canada’s Prime Minister will meet with the President of the Republic in two days’ time. Now, the Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa and we will report the content of our conversations to our two leaders, but I can say that this has been an honour and a pleasure, as well as a very friendly meeting, this opportunity to welcome my Canadian counterpart who knows that he is at home here.

The Hon. John Baird: Thank you very much. Thank you for coming. I would like to begin by warmly thanking my friend, Minister Fabius, for his welcome and the excellent work meeting that we had today. I think this was our most formal meeting. We had already met three or four times on the margins of international meetings.

Canada and France are allies, partners, friends. It is important to also take the time to compare our methods, identify what we (inaudible – technical difficulties) do together to meet the considerable challenges facing us. I am, of course, thinking of the international situation, what is happening in Syria and Mali is of concern to us, France and Canada are side by side in the necessary struggle that we must wage to defend human rights in the world. I might add, the situation in Iran.

We had a productive and very helpful discussion on all these issues. France’s leadership on the Syria issue is very much appreciated. I believe that you took on the leadership role only one or two weeks after your appointment, and it is really, it is very welcome in Canada and everywhere. But the relationship between France and Canada, as you know, is also a day-to-day relationship that must satisfy the current needs of all of Canada’s and France’s citizens. That is why we strongly believe in deepening economic and commercial ties between Canada, France and the European Union.

I am confident that this is how we can best address the economic challenges of our countries and citizens. We spoke quickly with Mr. Fabius and I will talk about it more tomorrow with the Minister Delegate to European Affairs, Mr. Cazeneuve. I might add the important youth mobility agreement between France and Canada that is soon to be renewed and modernized. So this meeting enabled us once again to reaffirm the strength of the relationship between France and Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President François Hollande had the opportunity to tell each other so in the hours and days following the election of France’s new president.   

Today, we once again reaffirm our intention to work together to address the issues of the day, looking forward. I appreciate the warm welcome and the very good meeting we had.