Bilateral relations of Tajikistan with France

01.03.2013 10:10

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the French Republic were established on March 3, 1992.
The Embassy of the French Republic in Dushanbe was opened on November 3, 2001. The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in Paris was opened in 2013.

In January 2018, according to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Ubaidullo Jamoliddin  Mahmadsaid was appointed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan in the French Republic.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to the Republic of Tajikistan is Mrs. Yasmine Gouedard (since 22 November 2016).

Political cooperation. The Tajik-French relations are developing in political, economic, cultural and military fields.

France was one of the first countries, which recognized the state independence of Tajikistan in 1991. The evidence to that was the visit of the State Secretary on Foreign Affairs Alain Vivien to Dushanbe in March 1992. During the visit the issues related to domestic and foreign policies of the two countries, possible ways of development of bilateral relations have been discussed, and also the ceremony of signing of the Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic Tajikistan and the French Republic took place.

The official visit of the President of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation His Excellency Mr. EmomaliRahmon to France in December 2002 can be regarded as an example of interest of both countries in strengthening bilateral cooperation. During this visit, the President of Tajikistan met with the President of France Jacques Chirac, the Chairman of the Senate, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Defense, Minister-Delegate on Foreign Trade and Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.

The working visit of the President of Tajikistan EmomaliRahmon to the French Republic with the view of participation in the work of UNESCO General Conference in October 2005 gave an additional impetus to the development of bilateral cultural co-operation. During this visit the Day of Culture of Tajikistan was held in France with the wide participation of Tajik artists. The meeting of the artists of Tajikistan was organized with the President of France, during which Jacques Chirac presented them with state awards of France.

The high level bilateral contacts were intensively developing in the beginning of 2000s. The Minister on Cooperation and Francophonie Charles Josselin (February 1999), Minister of Defense Alain Richard (January 2002), Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominique de Villepin (September 2002), Minister of Defense Michelle Alliot-Marie (December 2003), Minister on Foreign Trade François Loos (May 2004) have visited Tajikistan.

The military cooperation between the two countries developed in particular starting from 2002 up to 2013, during the period of the stay of military Air Force contingent of France at Dushanbe International Airport. This is also evidenced by the recent visits of the Minister of Defense of the French Republic Mrs. Michelle Alliot-Marie to the Republic of Tajikistan (December 17-19, 2005, July 20-21 and December 16-18, 2006). As part of these visits, the Minister of Defense met with the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. During the meeting the issues of military cooperation between the two countries were discussed. Among these issues was the extension of the deployment of the French military air base at Dushanbe airport, which provided logistics and technical support to coalition forces in Afghanistan.
In December 2002, an agreement on cooperation between the defense ministries of the two states was signed. This agreement provided for the establishment of cooperation in the training of military personnel for the needs of Tajikistan. Within this document, the Tajik officers annually participate in the exercises and activities carried out according to the plan of military cooperation, and improve their knowledge and skills.

On April 11-12, 2008, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Bernard Kouchner visited Tajikistan. During this visit he met with the President of Tajikistan EmomaliRahmon and the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.Zarifi. During the visit the official opening ceremony of a new building of the French Embassy in Dushanbe took place.

On November 28, 2012, in Paris, the Association of Friendship “France-Tajikistan” was established. The former French Ambassador to Tajikistan Mr. Henry Zipper de Fabiani was unanimously elected as the President of the Association.

On September 30, 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan SirodjidinAslov received the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of France in Tajikistan Mrs. YasmineGouedard on the occasion of presentation of copies of credentials.

On December 8, 2016, for the first time in the history of bilateral relations, political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan and the French Republic took place in Paris, during which the sides discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and France, topical issues of regional and multilateral cooperation (fight against extremism and terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, sustainable development), Tajikistan’s relations with the EU, the international agenda, including the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East. The delegation of the Republic of Tajikistan was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister MuzaffarHuseinzoda.

On March 29, 2017, at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, a meeting of foreign ministers took place in Paris on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries of Central Asia and the French Republic. The delegation of Tajikistan at the meeting was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister MuzaffarHuseinzoda.

Parliamentary cooperation. The inter-parliamentary relations between the two countries tend to be developing and deepening lately. Thus, in April 2011 the Delegation of Inter-parliamentary group of friendship of the Senate of France – Central Asia headed by its chairman – Mr. Andre Dulait and in June 2011 the “Mission of Water Geopolitics” of the National Assembly of France headed by its chairman Mr. Lionnel Luca visited Tajikistan. During the visits their meetings were held with the President of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation EmomaliRahmon, Chairman of the MajlisimilliMajlisiOli M. Ubaidulloev, Chairman of the MajlisinamoyandagonMajlisiOli Sh. Zuhurov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan H. Zarifi and other officials.

On September 2, 2013, the Delegation of Inter-parliamentary group of friendship of the Senate of France – Central Asia headed by its chairman – Mr. Andre Dulait visited Dushanbe.

Economic and trade cooperation. With the purpose of development of trade and economic relations during her visits to Dushanbe the Minister of Defense of France was accompanied by economic delegation. The business group of France was received by the President of the Republic Tajikistan. The meeting led to the decision on establishing of the Tajik-French Business Club.

Representatives of business circles of France also met with representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Trade of Tajikistan, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan where investment climate was discussed, some projects in banking and energy areas, as well as in the field of the food-processing industry were offered.

On August 8, 2008, the Financial Protocol between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the French Republic on granting preferential long-term 17 million Euros credit for the construction of a new terminal of the Dushanbe International Airport was signed in Dushanbe.  On November 19, 2008, an agreement was signed on the basis of the above-mentioned Protocol. These funds were provided for the implementation of the project for the construction of a new terminal of the International Airport of Dushanbe. Project implementation period was set at 2 years. Contractors for building a new terminal were French companies «Sofema Group» and «Alpha Airport».

On May 1, 2009, an additional Protocol was signed in Dushanbe. According to this document, France allocated an additional € 3 million for the project, which should have been completed in September 2011. Thus, the allocation of funds by the French side to implement the above project was determined in the amount of 20 mln. Euros. In general, according to the plans, France spent 49 million Euros for the reconstruction of the International airport of Dushanbe.

On October 18, 2009, the official ceremony of launching the construction of a new terminal of the International Airport of Dushanbe took place during the visit of the Special Representative of the President of France for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia Mr. Thierry Mariani to Tajikistan.

On September 3, 2014, the new terminal of the International Airport of Dushanbe was put into operation with the participation of the President of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation EmomaliRahmon on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Tajik civil aviation and the anniversary of the state independence of Tajikistan. During familiarization with the working conditions of the new passenger terminal it was informed that based on the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the French Republic, and between OJSC "International airport of Dushanbe" and French company “Vinci Constructions Grand Projects – VINCI” the terminal was built and equipped in 20 months.

It should be stressed that on April 24, 2015, the First Business Forum of Tajikistan and France was held in Dushanbe with the participation of representatives of the French Business Association – MEDEF International and heads of about 20 French companies and enterprises.

In November 2015, a delegation of businessmen headed by Chairman of the State Committee on Investments and State Property Management Mr. KodiriKosim paid a working visit to Paris. During the visit the Tajik business delegation held a fruitful meeting and talks at the headquarters of MEDEF International with its leaders and representatives of French companies and enterprises. Following the negotiations, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the State Committee on Investments and MEDEF International, and Business Council France-Tajikistan was established.

On June 21, 2016, in IsmoiliSomoni district of Dushanbe, the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan EmomaliRahmon opened the biggest trade center in the capital of Tajikistan - "Dushanbe Mall".

A significant part of the shopping center falls on the "Auchan" hypermarket. At the invitation of local entrepreneurs, the leadership of the French company "Shiver International" opened in Tajikistan "Auchan" hypermarket that is the first in Central Asia. CJSC "Shiver Tojikiston" was established in June 2014 by the company "Eurasia", the EBRD and the French company "Shiver International". It should be noted that this world-renowned company has more than 3,000 shopping centers – hypermarkets worldwide. Up to 400 new jobs and 70 jobs for management staff were created in the shopping center "Dushanbe Mall" for the operation of "Auchan".

It should be noted that about 25 French companies and enterprises are operating in Tajikistan to date, including Airbus, Alstom, Auchan, Coyne et Bellier, Total, Gemalto, Isover Saint-Gobain, L'Oreal, Michelin, Nutristar, Sofreco etc.

The trade turnover between Tajikistan and France for 9 months of 2017made up3mln. 382,7thousand USD (imports – 3mln. 206,9thousand USD and exports – 175,8thousand USD).  

Cultural and educational cooperation. Tajikistan and France have established relations in the fields of culture and education based on the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the French Republic on cultural and scientific-technical cooperation (since December 2002). According to this agreement, "Bactria" Cultural Center is functioning in Dushanbe, which annually organizes cultural and educational events, including the Week of Francophonie, show of French films, exhibition of books and paintings, contests of the French language, etc. At the same time, the CC "Bactria" conducts French language courses for all comers.

At this stage, 20 Tajik students (10 undergraduate and 10 master's degree) are studying in French universities. All scholarships to Tajik students are provided through EU programs – Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus +.

Starting from October 3, 2013, the Tajik-Persian language is included in the program of French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization (INALCO) under the title of "Tajik language and culture".

For those wishing to study in France, an office of «Campus France» Program of the Agency for Higher Education of France is operating since September 2016 at "Bactria" Cultural Center (Dushanbe).

Legal base. Tajikistan and France have signed 17 documents on bilateral cooperation up to date comprising the legal base of cooperation between the two countries in trade, economic, investment, cultural, scientific, technical, defense fields, in the sphere of domestic security and construction of airport infrastructure.

01.02.2018

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