KARACHI - National Day of France will be celebrated on the July 14, with the Fall of Bastille, that took place about 200 years ago, during the times of French Revolution. Hence from a monarchy, France then became a Republic of France. French Consul General Pierre Seillan in his message to Pakistani citizens said, "It gives me immense pleasure to communicate with you once again on the occasion of the French National Day which commemorates the French Revolution and the universal values of liberty, equality and fraternity it ushered in. This year's National Day coincides with the assumption of European Union presidency by France from July 1, which provides her a unique opportunity to promote bilateral relations with Pakistan on two tiers. Pakistan a strategically located country with 160 million inhabitants posting impressive growth rate is an important economic, strategic and cultural partner of EU and France." He said, "The four top priorities defined by President Nicolas Sarkozy which France will work upon as President of EU include sustainable development and energy, European Pact on immigration and exile, re-launching of the European Defence programme and state of health. Co-operation between Pakistan and EU can be enhanced in some of the relevant fields." Seillan stated, "On country to country level, France has taken the initiative by establishing the offices of the French Development Agency (FDA) in Islamabad which will disburse soft loans in different sectors including energy. French investments in Pakistan have surged to $500 million. Important French groups like Accor, Lafarge, Carrefour and L'Oreal have entered or are poised to enter Pakistan. Pakistan France Business Alliance and MEDEF (French Business Confederation) are striving hard to give an impetus to economic exchanges." On the educational grounds, he asserted, "This year in collaboration with the HEC, 190 students have left for France to pursue higher education in the top institutions of France. These young ambassadors of friendship and goodwill will project a positive image of a dynamic Pakistan and strengthen relations between the two countries on people to people level. To further broaden this base five Alliance Francaise (French cultural centres) are being constantly upgraded to teach French to Pakistanis. An ambitious project of a French science and technology university is in the final stages. It is scheduled to start next year in Karachi." "Defence co-operation, particularly between the naval forces, has a long history. French naval ships are calling more often. The two navies are holding joint maritime exercises and patrols to make the world waterways safer. Notwithstanding the progress we have made during my tenure and before, it is my firm belief that we should not rest on our laurels and be prepared to go an extra mile to cement the bonds based on liberty of manoeuvre, respect of equality and emphasis on fraternity." On a final note he said, "Pakistan-France dosti zindabad Vive la France Vive Ie Pakistan"