French President Emmanuel Macron will meet today in Jeddah, on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s strongman, to ensure “stability” in the Gulf and discuss the situation in Lebanon.
Macron takes a short tour of the Gulf. The French president is expected in this large city of Saudi Arabia on his next visit to the United Arab Emirates.
He will be one of the first Western leaders to meet the Crown Prince after the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Kasogi at his country’s consulate in Istanbul. The international image of the crown prince was severely tarnished by this case.
President Macron said on Friday that talks with Saudi Arabia, “the first Gulf country in terms of size,” were necessary so that “we can work for stability in the region.”
However, this “does not mean that we are complacent”, he assured, referring to the murder of the journalist.
“I point out that Saudi Arabia hosted the G20 next year” from the Kasogi case, he added, adding that “we have always been clear on the issue of human rights or this issue.”
Crisis in Lebanon
In talks with the Crown Prince, Macron intends to defend Lebanon’s case, where the economic crisis has been exacerbated by the open diplomatic crisis that erupted in October with several Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia first freezing its imports.
The efforts are expected to benefit from the resignation, announced yesterday, Friday, of Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi, who caused the crisis, criticizing Riyadh’s military intervention in Yemen.
Welcoming the resignation, Macron expressed hope that “it will be able to re-engage all the Gulf countries in relation to Lebanon.”
For a year now, a great effort has been made to help Lebanon emerge from the worst socio-economic crisis in its history.
Relations between Beirut and the Arab Gulf states have been strained in recent years due to the growing influence of pro-Iranian Hezbollah.
“France has a role to play in the region (…) but how do we want to work for the stability of the region, how do we want to handle the Lebanese issue and handle so many issues ignoring the first Gulf country in terms of geography and size “, underlined the French president.
The United Arab Emirates signed an agreement on Friday, the first day of Macron’s Gulf tour, to acquire 80 Rafale fighter jets – a record order for the € 14 billion fighter jet, which was launched in 2004. . Other military contracts (helicopters and equipment) raised the total to 17 billion.
After Dubai, where he held talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the French president met in Qatar with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Emanuel Macron mainly “thanked” Qatar for organizing the expulsion of 258 Afghans from their country, “who were threatened because of their commitments” or “their ties with France”.
Source From: Capital