Chirac packs bags for ambitious overseas agenda

29th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 29 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac unveiled on Monday his wide-ranging official travel plans for the coming months, with visits scheduled on four continents to strengthen French ties with foreign partners, including China, India and the Ukraine.

PARIS, Aug 29 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac unveiled on Monday his wide-ranging official travel plans for the coming months, with visits scheduled on four continents to strengthen French ties with foreign partners, including China, India and the Ukraine.

After attending the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 13-15, Chirac plans to visit both Kazakhstan and Ukraine in October, "two rapidly growing countries with which France hopes to build a balanced partnership".

For Asia, Chirac said he would receive Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao later this year. Underlining the importance attached by France to forging ties with the Communist powerhouse, Chirac said he hoped to "visit China again next year".

The visit by the Chinese premier to France would be his second this year after an official meeting in Paris in April.

Chirac said he would also visit India at the start of next year to shore up the two countries' "strategic relationship".

Elsewhere in the Asian region, Chirac said he planned to visit Thailand in January, "the first visit by a French head of state", and then Indonesia, another member of Asian trading block ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Chirac described Indonesia as a country "where we must do more to strengthen the presence of our country".

In South America, Chirac said he planned to visit both Brazil and Chile in the second quarter of next year.

"South America is asserting itself and sees in front of it long periods of growth," Chirac said.

Chirac is also due to attend an Africa-France summit in December in Bamako, Mali.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Chirac, French foreign policy, Franco-Sino relations, China, India, Ukraine.

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