Mexico and France committed themselves on Thursday to writing "a new page" in their relationship during the first day of French President François Hollande's visit to the Aztec nation.

With an eye toward initiating that new phase, top officials of the two countries on Thursday signed 42 accords to increase cooperation in different sectors, including education, health, sustainable development, public safety, finance, aeronautics and energy.

The signing of the agreements "shows the strategic character of our bilateral" relationship, said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto after talks with his French counterpart.

In public safety, the two leaders formalized the support of France in the process of creating a Mexican national police force, as well as in the exchange of law enforcement information and advice as well as police training, Peña Nieto said.

In the financial area, Mexico City and Paris will push to increase export financing, while in the aeronautics sector they will work on a project to assemble aircraft in Mexico.

Peña Nieto emphasized that in the energy sector, the two nations will increase their technical cooperation in areas such as the peaceful use of nuclear power, an "area in which France stands out on the world level," as well as in hydrocarbon exploration and production.

Hollande, in his speech, invited Peña Nieto to visit France and called for increasing bilateral trade, which totaled 4 billion euros ($5.55 billion) last year.

The French leader will meet with members of the French community in Mexico and afterwards will deliver a speech before the Senate. On Thursday evening, he will attend a dinner Peña Nieto is hosting in his honor. EFE