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Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario met today, 30 May, with Senator Simon Sutour, President of the France-Philippines friendship group, at the French Senate. Secretary Del Rosario is in Paris to conduct Political Consultations (Polcons) with his French counterpart Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. 
During the meeting, the Secretary highlighted the shared democratic traditions and values of both France and the Philippines and expressed admiration for the leadership of France in Europe and in the international community. He also conveyed the positive developments in the Philippines, including the country’s 6.6% GDP growth in 2012, its achievement of investment grade status from three credit rating agencies, and the Philippine Stock Exchange’s performance as being among the best in the world. He attributed the recent economic gains to President Aquino’s focused efforts towards good governance, transparency and accountability, adding that the President has achieved the right mix, and has translated good governance into good economics.
Secretary del Rosario took the opportunity to update the Senator on developments in the West Philippine Sea issue, especially on the Philippine initiative of pursuing the legal track in its maritime disputes with China, through the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal. The Secretary emphasized that the Philippines adopted the approach after political and diplomatic approaches have not yielded results.
Senator Sutour, for his part, thanked the Secretary for his visit and underscored its importance in strengthening the relationship not just between the two chambers but also the broader France-Philippines bilateral relations. He added that he will do his part, as President of the Friendship group for the Philippines in the Senate, to provide more visibility to the Philippines in France.
The Secretary invited Senator Sutour to visit the Philippines, saying that the present time would be an excellent opportunity to pursue cooperative efforts between both senates.
Secretary del Rosario was joined during the meeting by Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega and DFA and Philippine Embassy officials.

Meeting with Sen. Sutour

Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega are welcomed by Senator Simon Sutour at the French Senate during their meeting on 30 May 2013.