President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday said Pakistan desires to further strengthen its partnership with France in diverse areas to the mutual benefit of the people of both countries.

Talking to Philippe Thiebaud, ambassador of France in Pakistan who paid a farewell call on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said Pakistan accorded importance to its bilateral relations with France which are based on mutual trust and goodwill.

The president appreciated France’s decades long partnership with Pakistan in defence, economic, trade and commercial relations and expressed hope that annual bilateral consultations will be held with France before the end of this year.

The president expressed confidence that the existing bilateral trade volume of US$ 1.3 billion between the two countries has the vast potential to increase in future. He said presently over 30 French companies were benefiting from Pakistan’s investor friendly policies.

The president also appreciated the support of France to Pakistan at various international forums.

Talking to the outgoing ambassador, the president stated that the presence of large Pakistani diaspora of over 50,000 people in France acted as a bridge for furthering people-to-people contact between the two countries.

The president appreciated the ongoing cooperation with France in the field of education, training and research. Currently 483 Pakistani PhD scholars are pursuing their degree in France. 

The president commended the diplomatic services of Philippe Thiebaud for promoting bilateral relations during his stay as ambassador in Pakistan. He wished the outgoing ambassador good health, happiness and success in his future and career.

Philippe Thiebaud thanked the president for the support he was extended by the government of Pakistan during his tenure in Pakistan.