Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Crown Prince MBS: Saudi Will Join Response to Chemical Attack If Needed

Some agreement to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions is better than no deal at all tells Macron Some agreement to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions is better than no deal at all tells Macron
Isabel Fisher | 11 April, 2018, 13:59

The Kingdom has witnessed rapid change in its policies since the appointment of Crown Prince Mohammed Salman, son of the king and heir to the throne in June.

The Prince along with Saudi officials stopped to meet with a handful of company leaders Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Google SVP who runs Android, Chrome including other platforms as well as, Urs Hölzle, the leader of Google's cloud business.

The kingdom also revealed on Monday that it would enter short films at the Cannes film festival next month for the first time, a further sign of Prince Mohammed's mission to modernise his country.

Lawyer Joseph Breham, representing a Yemeni human rights group, is suing the crown prince, now in France on an official visit, for his leading role in the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Asked whether France might consider following Germany's recent decision to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an Elysee source last week said French arms sales were subject to strict case-by-case approval procedures which considered concerns for civilians. "We have here a young leader who is going to be in the highest functions in a country where 70 percent of the population is under 30", Macron said alongside the 32-year-old prince.

"Fashion has always an interest of Saudi Arabia", Princess Noura told AFP at the event.

"The leadership of both countries share much in common".


The two leaders also had some tense moments in November after Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of holding Prime Minister Saad Hariri hostage in the kingdom.

Macron, 40, is treading 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 Iran.

"It is obvious that we will not tolerate any ballistic activity that threatens Saudi Arabia".

Macron faces seething criticism over French weapon exports to Saudi Arabia, including Caesar artillery guns, sniper rifles and armoured vehicles, despite the kingdom's role in the Yemen crisis.

Macron's mediation, which led Hariri to travel to Paris and then rescind his resignation, was seen by analysts as exposing the limits of Prince Mohammed's authority.

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.

This sequence - as well as Macron's planned trip to Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-regional rival - is thought to have come up during a first round of talks between Macron and his Saudi visitor on Sunday night.

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