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Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega ends her tour of duty as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France and Monaco on 31 January 2014. 

To cap a highly successful tour of two years and four months in France, the Ambassador called on French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on 30 January to bid farewell.  She was warmly received at the HôtelMatignon, the official residence and offices of the French head of government, by Madame Brigitte Ayrault, wife of the Prime Minister.

During the cordial and substantive meeting, there was occasion to discuss the many positive developments in Philippines-France bilateral relations.  The Ambassador recalled the historic visit of the Prime Minister to the Philippines in October 2012, the first of its kind since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1947.  She also noted the renewed interest to strengthen economic exchanges between the two countries as evidenced by the dispatch of business and investment missions.  Ministerial- level visits, such as those made by Philippine Foreign Affairs, Finance and Trade and Industry Secretaries, have been undertaken to show that both sides are ready to take the bilateral engagement further. 

On the cultural side, Prime Minister Ayrault also expressed great interest in the “Philippines: Archipelago of Exchanges” exhibition held for three months at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in 2013.  The exhibition, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself and Philippine Vice President JejomarBinay, allowed the French and international public to appreciate Philippine culture and history. 

Recalling the devastation caused by natural calamities in the Philippines late last year, the Prime Minister voiced the French people’s solidarity for the victims.  Ambassador Ortega, in turn, expressed appreciation for the actions taken by the French government, companies, NGOs and individuals who extended assistance.  Madame Brigitte Ayrault, who also visited the Philippines in 2012 with the Prime Minister, even spearheaded an initiative that involved the French Red Cross and the national museums to collect donations for typhoon victims.

The Prime Minister also remarked on the very promising future for the Philippines, noting that the country still managed to achieve rapid economic growth despite the calamities.

At the end of the farewell call, Prime Minister Ayrault wished Ambassador Ortega more success even as she departs from Paris and retires from the Philippine Foreign Service.

Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega and Prime Minister of France  Jean-Marc Ayrault

Ambassador Ortega with Prime Minister Ayrault and Madame Brigitte Ayrault