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French president may visit Philippines in 2015 - embassy

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - French President Francois Hollande may visit the Philippines in 2015 to reciprocate President Benigno S. Aquino III's trip to France next week.

The French Embassy in Manila revealed this on Friday before Aquino leaves for Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the United States.

READ: P-Noy off to US, Europe next month

The Embassy said Aquino will arrive in Paris on September 17 from Brussels, Belgium, and will leave for Berlin, Germany on September 19.

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said Aquino's trip to France and other European countries "shows the existing partnership between our governments, as well as the continuing friendship between our peoples."

"This visit is expected to reap economic, political, and cultural gains for both our countries, which we hope would lead to greater opportunities for bilateral cooperation. Perhaps next year, we could see a visit by President Hollande to the Philippines," Garachon said.

It will be Aquino's first visit to France since his election in 2010 and the first visit of a Philippine head of state since 1994.

The French Embassy said Aquino will be welcomed with military honors at the Arc de Triomphe and will proceed to the Elysée Palace for a bilateral meeting with Hollande.

Both presidents will witness the signing of agreements in the areas of culture, education, transportation and communications among others.

Aquino will also hold bilateral talks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Hotel Matignon.

On September 18, Aquino will be at the Intercontinental Hotel to formally open the Philippines-France Business Council organized by the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF) International and the Department of Trade and Industry.

MEDEF International is a non-profit private-funded organization that represents over 4,000 French companies operating all over the world.

A delegation from the organization visited Manila on April for a business forum organized by the French Embassy in here and the Philippine Embassy in France.

Aquino will also deliver a policy speech at the Institut français des relations internationales, a Paris-based think tank.

"Today, we are witnessing an exciting phase in bilateral relations between France and the Philippines," Garachon said.

"We are riding a momentum of increased cooperation between our two countries, which started when then-Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited the Philippines in 2012," he added.

AQUINO

FRANCE

FRANCE AND THE PHILIPPINES

FRENCH

FRENCH AMBASSADOR GILLES GARACHON

FRENCH EMBASSY

FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE

FRENCH PRIME MINISTER MANUEL VALLS

GARACHON

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