Militarily, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France negotiated a defence cooperation agreement to diversify the UAE's procurement of weaponry, in addition to a significant mmilitary relationship with the United States; France is one of the country’s primary providers of military matériel.
Culturally, as of 2008[update] the Sorbonne university and Louvre museum were both establishing extensions in the UAE, and there was a plan to recreate a miniature Lyon city in Dubai complete with public squares, restaurants and museums.
On May 25, 2009, French president Nicolas Sarkozy visited Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he and the UAE's president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan formally opened a French military base, France's first permanent base in the Gulf, with up to 500 French troops. Sarkozy also visited the site of a Louvre Museum branch which France is opening in the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that co-operation with France was a top priority of UAE foreign policy.