Bilateral talks by Sultan & Sarkozy

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on Wednesday discussed bilateral issues on strengthening the relationship between Brunei and France during a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

At the same time, His Majesty also commended the French government for hosting the International Donors Conference for Afghanistan.

The conference, which opened yesterday saw the gathering of 67 nations and 17 international organisations.

Donors led by the United States pledged more than US$15.54 billion in aid for Afghanistan but said Kabul must do more to fight corruption and the international assistance must be better coordinated.

RTB meanwhile reported that during the bilateral meeting between His Majesty and Mr Sarkozy, the two leaders expressed happiness with the positive progress in the defence and investment cooperation and agreed to further strengthen ties in education and culture.

Earlier, His Majesty visited the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group Unit (GIGN) in Satory, Versailles.

Created in 1973, it is an elite counter terrorism and hostage rescue unit.

Upon arrival at the GIGN, His Majesty was welcomed by the commander of the elite force, RTB added.

His Majesty was briefed on the operations and structure of the GIGN and later toured the command centre and observed a live demonstration on hostage rescue situation.

Brunei established diplomatic relations with France in 1984. Bilateral relations between the two countries have since seen positive progress. His Majesty last visited France in 1994.

French investments in Brunei account for B$500 million, in particular the oil and gas sector recording B$400 million.

TOTAL is the main French investor in this sector. Present in the country since 1986, it began producing oil and gas in 1999. In 2002, the company was granted exploratory permits for two deep offshore productions.

Another B$100 million has been invested in goods ranging from consumer products, electronics and other businesses. - Borneo Bulletin (13th June 2008)