S'pore-France ties to be reviewed annually

PM Lee with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Matignon in Paris.

PARIS - The strategic partnership between Singapore and France will be reviewed annually as both countries make clear their intention to work even more closely on various fronts.

This was the outcome of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday.

They directed their foreign ministries to do annual reviews of the partnership, which was sealed in October last year when Mr Ayrault visited Singapore.

The leaders reviewed the strategic partnership across all fields, including political, economic, defence, education, research and culture.

Mr Ayrault expressed France's support for the ratification of the European Union-Singapore free trade agreement.

He also expressed French interest to participate in Singapore's expansion of the MRT network, and in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project.

Both leaders supported more student and academic exchanges and looked forward to celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between their countries in 2015.

On Tuesday, Mr Lee also discussed bilateral cooperation with President of the French Senate Jean-Pierre Bel.

Mr Lee invited Mr Bel to visit Singapore, and the two leaders welcomed the further strengthening of parliamentary ties.

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