UAE's Expo 2020 bid wins French backing

The UAE has secured the support of the French Government in its bid to host Dubai Expo 2020, a top official has revealed.

Speaking at a diplomatic reception, Mohammad Meer Abdullah Al Rafesi, UAE Ambassador to France, said: “Yes, we have been assured of France’s support for the Expo 2020 bid.”

This is the second major breakthrough for the UAE, following the UK’s support for UAE’s bid announced last month.

“We are talking to all the members of the BIE residing here. However, other competing cities are also doing the same and it will be difficult to say anything ahead of the crucial votes in November. However, we are optimistic and with the wonderful presentation, we are more confident now,” he said.

Last week, Dubai moved a step closer to hosting the World Expo 2020 after its bid passed the latest stage and the Thailand city competing was disqualified, reducing the number of contenders to four.

The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) on Tuesday approved the UAE’s plans for the international event as meeting the criteria for staging the expo, based on inspections by BIE officials.

BIE officials voted to drop the Thai city Ayutthaya from contention amid concerns the bid did not have sufficient support from the government.

The other cities still in the race are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.

The emirate also has the backing of former US president Bill Clinton.

The winner will be announced after a vote by the bureau’s 166 member states at its next general assembly in November.

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