It is my pleasure to share a few words on the occasion of the National Day of France. Bastille Day on the 14th of July embodies the spirit of the French Revolution and the universal motto that defined the French people’s values: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. In the testing times the world is going through, these values that we are celebrating together today are more than ever our best guide, I would even say our best moral compass, to confront together the current challenges we face. I would like firstly to convey the full solidarity of France with the authorities and the people of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. France was itself victim of several heinous terrorist attacks last year. In these painful moments for both our countries, let me reassure that France recognizes the sacrifices and supports Pakistan in its endeavours. It is determined to continue to fight against terrorism in the whole world. Our two countries have enjoyed close bilateral ties since decades. Be it politically, militarily, economically, or in our cultural and educational cooperation, our two Nations have found common ground, which has made our relationship stronger. I am glad, after a year and a half in Pakistan, to see this relation grow even stronger. We have these past months, multiplied bilateral contacts in all domains, at the highest level: President François Hollande met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November last year, just before the Prime Minister of Pakistan visited France on the occasion of the Climate Change Conference. Let me here focus on a few subjects that I believe will enable a sustainable and long-lasting partnership between France and Pakistan. Firstly, the youth. Cooperation in education, academia, science and culture is one of our priorities. In 2015, on top of a program of post-doc scholarships, 85 scholarships were granted for students to follow a master or a thesis in France, in fields as diverse as health, management, biology, law, in cooperation with HEC. The Embassy of France also finances around 200 need-based scholarships for underprivileged students, especially in remote regions of Pakistan. Along with three Alliances Françaises which main role is to promote French culture and French language training (around 6000 students of French – around 10 000 people in Pakistan speak French), our Embassy is also seeking to offer places of exchange and dialogue with Pakistani society through an “Open Doors” program of debates. In terms of economic relations, trade between France and Pakistan has crossed the 1 billion USD thresholds for the third year in a row since 2013 and has shown an important increase of the surplus in favour of Pakistan with the duty-free access to the EU market for a large range of product through the EU GSP+ mechanism granted to Pakistan. With respect to investment in Pakistan, major French projects are in negotiation and will hopefully come to fruition anytime soon, strengthening the presence of the more than 40 French multi-national companies active in Pakistan. We must endeavour to do better and more: French companies stand ready to offer their expertise to support Pakistan, especially in the energy, the water treatment, and the transport sectors, as well as to contribute to the success of the China-Pakistan economic corridor. I would like to pay a special tribute to these French companies, which some are graciously supporting this year the celebration of our National Day in Pakistan in Islamabad, in Karachi and in Lahore. I also render a tribute to the Pakistan-French Business Alliance and to the Pakistan-French Business Council for their dedication in enhancing bilateral relationship. Last but not least, if we talk about sustainability, we need to talk also about climate change. Last December, in Paris, the world reached the historic achievement of adopting a universal agreement on climate change. As France is holding the Presidency of COP21 for a year, we are committed to sustain this momentum, as we did in 2015 in Pakistan. The French Agency for Development, which invests in green energy since 2006 in Pakistan, funding many hydroelectricity projects, will expand its scope of action to climate change mitigation and adaption throughout the year. This message gives me the opportunity to express the friendship and gratitude of the French people to the people of Pakistan for their warm hospitality and best wishes for their continuing prosperity. France looks forward to continue building on this positive cooperation along with its Pakistani partners. France-Pakistan Dosti Zindabad ! Vive l’amitié Franco-Pakistanaise! The writer is ambassador of France to Pakistan.