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Sun 29 Apr 2007 08:58 AM

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UAE in landmark restoration offer

Abu Dhabi government offers France $13.6m for restoration of historic chateau.

The UAE and France have signed a historic agreement to restore the famous Chateau De Fontainebleau, with the government of Abu Dhabi financing the historic palace's restoration at a cost of €10 million ($13.6m).

The agreement was signed in line with the directives of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and the instructions of General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, an official statement read.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and Renaud Donnedieu De Vabres, the French culture minister, signed the agreement in Paris yesterday.

In appreciation of Sheikh Khalifa's "generous initiatives and support to culture", the Napoleon III theatre will be renamed in his honour. A plaque bearing the name of Sheikh Khalifa was unveiled after the signing ceremony.

"Sheikh Khalifa's initiative to restore the historic palace is his gift to France in recognition of the cultural and enlightenment roles it plays across the world and in the Middle East," Sheikh Sultan said.

The Royal Château of Fontainebleau is in the Seine-et-Marne département and is the largest of the French royal châteaux. The château as it is today is the work of several French monarchs.

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