October 19, 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Malacañan Palace in his first historic visit to the Philippines.
The highlight of the visit was the signing of two agreements by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq and Minister Delegate of Foreign Affairs Helene Conway that was witnessed by both leaders. The first agreement covers the loan of artworks for the exposition at the Musée du Quai Branly where the Philippines was chosen as the feature country. In the exhibit, 30 artifacts from the pre-colonial period will be featured. The second agreement is on the declaration of intent related to the research of biomass energy production. In the said agreement, the Philippines and France agree to undertake a feasibility study on the use of rice straw to resolve the power crisis in the Philippines.
In a statement, President Aquino said that France continues to remain as a partner of the Philippines in upholding democracy and in pursuit of development. He also took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for the continuing contribution of France in helping the country achieve its development priorities through the Development Assistance mechanism. According to the President, the visit of the French leader sends a strong signal that French companies are noticing the potential of the country for positive economic development.
The Prime Minister was accorded with a welcome ceremony led by the Honor Guards of the Presidential Security Group and was invited by President Aquino to sign in the guest book before their bilateral meeting . President Aquino showed the portraits of former Philippine presidents in the Reception Hall where they also took a photo opportunity with his mother.
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