Muscat: The newly-appointed French Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman is taken away by the hospitality and warm welcome by the people of the country.
Talking exclusively to TTV on its weekly show, T-Talk, H.E. Veronique Aulagnon, Ambassador of France to Oman, opened up about her experience in the country as well as the strong bilateral relations France and Oman share.
Speaking about how she is finding the country so far, the French ambassador said: “I find Oman extremely welcoming and hospitable. I was posted to Lebanon before – a very hospitable country – and was wondering how Oman would be? I have been really impressed by the hospitality of this country.
“I have been travelling throughout the country, and amazed to see that people who you don’t know, invite you to their house and welcome you. I think this is also the reason why so many French tourists are visiting Oman. It is very special.”
On how she felt being posted for the first time in the Middle East region, Aulagnon said that she was hoping to be posted in Oman back in France. “I was hoping to be posted in Oman, and I remember the exact moment when I received the call over an important lunch, I felt very proud to be proposed to serve and represent my country at the highest level after 16 years of career in my ministry, and the second of course is the excitement. In France we used to call Oman the ‘happy Arabia’.”
She added that: “As a diplomat, it is very interesting to try to understand the society and try to read what is happening. So, after eight months of being here, I am learning every day.” Just in a short span of time, Aulagnon has been to a lot of places in the country already and plans on to keep exploring.
“I have been to a lot of places in Oman – Wadi Shab, Wadi Tiwi, Jabal Shams, Misfit, Nizwa, Bahla, Jabreen, Wahiba Sands, Sur, Ras Al Hadd, and planning to go to Jabal Akhdar, Mussandam and Salalah.
Talking about the strong relationship that the two countries share, the ambassador said that it goes long back in history.
“We had merchants travelling to the country already in the 17th century, and companies trading here. We had a consul at the end of the 19th century, and today his house has been transformed into a beautiful bilateral museum where we are the only country to have such a museum which is also a sign of the strong relationship we share.
“And I would say that the backbone of our relationship is also the military and security cooperation. I would say that France is in the top five partners of the country. We have, in regular years, around 20 military vessels coming to Oman and many aircraft flying over the country. We do a lot of exchange of information, and also mutual training where people would be trained in Oman and not only we would be providing training. All this can only happen because there is mutual trust,” she added.