Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

French President Macron to hold talks with Saudi crown prince in Paris

Saja Kamal was part of a Guinness World Record playing in the highest altitude football match on Mount Kilimanjaro Saja Kamal Saja Kamal Saja Kamal was part of a Guinness World Record playing in the highest altitude football match on Mount Kilimanjaro Saja Kamal Saja Kamal
Adrian Cunningham | 11 April, 2018, 04:50

A French lawyer has filed a lawsuit in a Paris court against visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accusing him of complicity in torture in Yemen, an embarrassment for the French government as it rolled out the red carpet for its powerful guest.

Prince, 32, previously dined with Macron at Paris's Louvre museum on Sunday night after flying in on his first trip to France as heir to the Saudi throne. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was invited to meet with them and to attend the dinner.

U.S. President Donald Trump canceled his first official trip to Latin America this weekend in order to "oversee the American response to Syria", the White House told reporters on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia´s crown prince wraps up his visit to France Tuesday, geared toward shoring up cooperation while addressing the lurking strategic differences between the two countries on a series of crises across the Middle East.

Earlier on Monday, Hariri tweeted another selfie with the prince and Moroccan King Mohammed VI, showing the three leaders smiling and dressed casually.

It appeared created to send a message of reconciliation after Hariri was allegedly pressured to resign by the Saudi royal during a trip to Riyadh last November, causing a crisis which Macron helped defuse.

Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.

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Macron and the Saudi heir had already dined for almost three hours Sunday at the Louvre museum, with the young French leader later tweeting photos of them in front of Eugene Delacroix´s "Liberty Leading The People".

The canvas features a bare-breasted woman holding the French tricolore, an image that would be banned in Saudi Arabia for its nudity and its subversive political message.

Much of the prince´s visit has focused on deepening cultural ties with France, with Saudi officials drawing on the country´s expertise to set up a national opera and orchestra.

Macron said France's information had shown "that chemical weapons were indeed used and that the regime could clearly be held responsible".

After Paris, he will head to Madrid, before travelling home ahead of the next Arab League summit meeting, on April 15 in Riyadh.

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday that his country ranks third in the volume of investments made in Saudi Arabia, coming next to United States and Kuwait.

The French president defended weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, but said he was concerned by the humanitarian situation and would host a conference on the issue before the summer.