Published: Ср, Апреля 11, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Saudi Crown Prince, French president affirm strong ties during 3-hour meeting

Saudi Crown Prince, French president affirm strong ties during 3-hour meeting

Paris: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in France on Sunday on the fourth leg of his global tour for a stop that will focus on building relations over culture and tourism.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in France as part of his global tour aimed at reshaping his kingdom's austere image overseas.

"Prince Mohammed is strengthening ties with traditional allies US, UK and France as he is set to be the next king of Saudi Arabia", Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.

More than a dozen memorandums of understanding in tourism, energy and transportation are set to be signed between French and Saudi organisations, another source close to the delegation told AFP.

The Louvre was the latest prestigious historic site chosen by Macron to host and impress foreign heads of state, following Russian President Vladimir Putin's reception at the Versailles chateau and US President Donald Trump's dinner with his French counterpart at the chic restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.

Saudi Crown Prince visits Bush senior
Saudi Crown Prince visits Bush senior

A Franco-Saudi cooperation deal to develop Al Ula, a Saudi city richly endowed with archeological remnants, is also expected to be a central highlight of the visit, he added. The influential crown prince is expected to visit the Paris startup incubator Station F.

The powerful young prince who is behind modernising reforms in Saudi Arabia is on a three-day trip to France at a time when relations between the two countries have become more complicated, including over how to address Iran's regional role.

In France, the visit will include business events and a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, a similarly young and ambitious leader keen on radical reforms.

Macron, 40, treads a diplomatic tightrope with the prince as he seeks to bolster his ties with the world's top oil exporter while also managing relations with Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran.

But the visit follows a period of underlying tensions.

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Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he has since rescinded his resignation.

The Yemen conflict, into which the Saudi-led coalition intervened three years ago to fight Iran-backed Huthi rebels, has left almost 10,000 people dead and the country on the brink of starvation.

The crown prince, however, has emphasised closer ties with Washington just as Macron has sought to improve relations with Iran.

The United Nations says 10,000 people have died in the fighting in the Yemen conflict.

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