On Monday (May 18), Hotel Nationale des Invalides - one of Paris’ most prestigious and iconic buildings - was the location for President Tony Tan Keng Yam's welcome ceremony.
Dr Tan was received by France's Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Health Ministry, Laurence Rossignol and Préfet of the Region of Ile de France, Jean-Francois Carenco. There, he inspected the Guard of Honour formed by the French Republican Guards.
Later, President Tan was received by France President Francois Hollande at his official residence, the Elysee Palace.
Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam received by France counterpart Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace. (Photo: Monica Kotwani)
The two men witnessed the signing of six Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and one letter of intent between agencies and institutions of the two countries.
These included MOUs between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and France's Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institution (IRSN). These will allow NUS to collaborate with the IRSN on research and training programmes in nuclear safety.
Singapore’s recently formed Cyber Security Agency (CSA) and its French counterpart also entered into an agreement, which allows Singapore to learn from France’s experience in dealing with cyber threats.
Said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who is part of President’s Tan delegation: “I'm not at the liberty to go into the details, but we know they face certain cyber threats within the continent. At the same time, we are also seeing for example, some of the experiences they've had with ISIS.
“Those are things which we know are emerging threats facing countries across the world, and I don't think we can pretend Singapore can be spared from that. So I think we better learn, and learn quickly, so we can understand what we need to do to deal with these growing threats that we are now seeing coming into cyberspace."
After the signing, both Presidents also unveiled a joint stamp issue celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations, entitled 'Street Art'. It is a collaboration between France's Groupe La Poste and Singapore Post (SingPost).
Joint stamp issue celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between France and Singapore, entitled 'Street Art'. (Photo: Yaacob Ibrahim's Facebook page)
SingPost said it used street art as a design because it wanted to give a vibrant and youthful interpretation to well-loved monuments in both countries. In the case of France, it is the iconic Eiffel Tower, and in Singapore, the Merlion. The Eiffel Tower stamp was designed by France’s Sophie Beaujard, while the local design was by Ivory Seah. The issue – made up of a local stamp and a S$2 stamp - will be available at all post offices as well as at the Singapore Philatelic Museum from Jun 5. It can also be purchased online.