x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to attend Macron's gala dinner in Paris

President and prince will work on a 'strategic document' involving a series of contracts

Saudi Arabia's crown prince will on Tuesday night attend a gala dinner hosted by President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, as the young leaders seek to improve co-operation.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, dined with Mr Macron at Paris's Louvre museum on Sunday night after flying in on his first trip to France as heir to the Saudi throne.

Mr Macron, 40, treads a fine diplomatic line with the prince as he seeks to bolster his ties with the world's top oil exporter while also managing relations with Iran.

Mr Macron tweeted a picture of the pair at the Louvre looking at the 19th-century masterpiece Liberty Leading The People by revolutionary painter Eugene Delacroix.

"The discussions were friendly, which allowed the two men to establish a personal relationship," Mr Macron's office said.

The two leaders will now work on a "strategic document" involving a series of contracts to be signed by Mr Macron during a visit to Saudi Arabia later this year, his office said.

In a trip that appears focused on tourism, culture and the arts, the prince's delegation is set to host a forum on Tuesday morning with French business leaders.

The prince is also expected to meet French ministers, a source close to his delegation said. He has so far met Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Pay.

Saudi Arabia's official Centre for International Communications tweeted on Tuesday that the crown prince and Ms Pay signed a number of agreements on the development of the armed forces, localisation of military technology and training.

Prince Mohammed's visit is part of a global tour that included travel to the US, Britain and Egypt as he seeks to project a more moderate vision of his country.

_______________

Read more

Saudi-French cultural tie-ups announced as Prince Mohammed begins France visit

Editorial: Crown Prince's triumphal US tour will have a lasting impact

_______________

Saudi and French aides stressed before the trip that cultural ties, as well as new business opportunities, would be at the heart of two days of talks between government and private-sector figures from both countries.

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 heads and actors including Morgan Freeman.