France open to possible defense cooperation with PH: envoy

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

July 15, 2019, 2:06 pm

<p>French Ambassador Nicolas Galey <em>(Photo courtesy of Camille Eva Marie Conde/French Embassy in Manila)</em></p>

French Ambassador Nicolas Galey (Photo courtesy of Camille Eva Marie Conde/French Embassy in Manila)

MANILA – France is "hundred percent available" in establishing defense cooperation with the Philippines similar to its partners in the Indo-Pacific region, French Ambassador Nicolas Galey said on Sunday.

"We are happy that the Philippines clearly wants to play a bigger role in the region, (and) wants to share this with us. We are obviously 100 percent available to have the same kind of cooperation with the Philippines like the one we have with other countries in the world and in this region like Malaysia and Australia," he told reporters in an interview during the celebration of France National Day in Makati City.

"We are also an Indo-Pacific power, we have the second largest economic zone in the world thanks to the French territories in the Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and the Island of Réunion... This gives us a particular reason and motivation to have good cooperation with the Philippines," the envoy said.

Aside from 8,000 French militaries, Galey mentioned that France also has naval bases posted in the Indo-Pacific region.

In an interview with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in the same reception, he told reporters that Manila would like to canvass for military equipment and submarines from the European state.

"I plan to visit France this September and look at their equipment kung mayroon tayong mabibili (and see if we can buy something from them). France has been making (military) equipment for the longest time and they have good qualities," he said. "The Navy is considering France as a source of our submarine," he added. (PNA)