French President Macron tweets pictures in Paris with Mohammed bin Salman

Adjust Comment Print

No big contracts are expected to be signed during the visit of Mohammed bin Salman, but a "strategic partnership" is to be announced tomorrow with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Aside from meetings with the French president, prime minister and trade officials, the heir to the Saudi throne is also considering a visit to the Paris-based tech startup campus Station F and a concert in southern Aix-en-Provence, the source said.

A private letter sent to Macron from 12 global non-governmental organisations urged him to pressure MBS to ease a blockade on Yemeni ports and suspend French arms sales.

That includes developing a UNESCO heritage desert site.

The announcement that Saudi Arabia will make its first official appearance at France's Cannes film festival came after Prince Mohammed dined last week in Hollywood with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, along with film studio bosses and famed American actors including Morgan Freeman.

The US visit by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, has been vitally important, asserted Dr. Waleed Al-Samaani, justice minister and chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council.

"Despite some tensions, Saudi Arabia needs French expertise as it opens up giant sectors to diversify its oil-dependent economy - entertainment, tourism and cinemas", Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.

Anthony Rizzo: 'I want to play' in Cubs' home opener
Tyler Chatwood (0-1, 1.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season and his Wrigley Field debut for the Cubs. In the Sunday game, Harrison managed a pair of hits and a run while Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer.

And this week, 10 global rights groups implored Macron to pressure Prince Mohammed over the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

The kingdom is the lead partner in a coalition of countries bombing and blockading Yemen, where a combination of fighting, disease and food shortages has led it to be dubbed the world's worst humanitarian crisis by the UN. The royal family owns luxurious property in France, including a mansion on the Riviera.

The incident triggered a new debate in France over radical Salafist interpretations of Islam which originated in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Mohammed denied the report in an interview with Time magazine published on Thursday, during his official visit to the United States.

"We want to be part of this new dimension" being developed by the crown prince, which gives way to "new cooperation, less directed toward isolated contracts and more to investments in the future".

"Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation and they are going to give the United States some of that wealth hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world", Trump says.

The four countries cut off Qatar's land, sea and air routes in June over its alleged support of extremists and close ties with Iran, which Qatar adamantly denies.