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French president hosts Saudi crown prince [Video]

Saudi Arabia News

French president hosts Saudi crown prince

(16 Jun 2023)


Elysee Palace, Paris – 16 June 2023
1. French President Emmanuel Macron waiting to welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
2. Bin Salman leaving car, being greeted by Macron and posing for photographers
3. Macron and bin Salman walking to Elysee Palace entrance, posing for photos on steps and then walking into palace

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday in Paris as part of an official visit, during which he will also participate in a global financing summit aimed at fighting poverty and climate change.

Macron and the prince are set to have a one-to-one working lunch at the Elysee presidential palace.

The French presidency said the talks are to focus on bilateral relations between the two countries and on regional stability issues, especially after long-time rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran restored diplomatic ties earlier this year.

France is a major weapons and defence supplier to Gulf nations.

The leaders also are preparing for a global summit next week “aimed at bringing together private and public funding” to fight poverty, support climate transition and protect biodiversity, the French presidency said. The event is expected to gather over 50 heads of states and governments as well as many NGOs and prominent climate activists.

During his stay in Paris, Prince Mohammed is also expected to push for Riyadh to host the 2030 World Fair’s Expo.

His visit to France comes as the prince has sought to rehabilitate his image abroad following the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. While Saudi Arabia denies the prince’s involvement, U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed he likely ordered Khashoggi’s killing as part of a wider crackdown on any challenge to his rule.

In the time since, Prince Mohammed has sought to portray Saudi Arabia as a possible mediator amid Russia’s war on Ukraine and has used its position as the dominant member of the OPEC+ oil cartel to try and boost global energy prices.

The prince also seeks to build mega projects across the kingdom to create new jobs for Saudi Arabia’s youthful population. However, challenges and international suspicions remain. Saudi Arabia remains mired in its years-long war with Yemen. Executions in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s top executioners, have spiked after the coronavirus pandemic.

A top French official, speaking anonymously in accordance with the presidency’s customary practices, said France will seek to convince Saudi Arabia to weigh on Russia for an end to the conflict that preserves Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Human rights will be evoked by Macron as France is firmly opposed to the death penalty, the official said.

Video shot for AP by Oleg Cetinic


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