President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia marks a new era in Franco-Saudi cooperation
JEDDAH: A joint statement covering a wide range of issues and signature of a multitude of agreements were the highlights of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia on the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.
The agreements related to economic cooperation were announced Saturday by Saudi and French companies while Macron met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Crown Prince met with Macron at the Al-Salam Palace, where they discussed bilateral cooperation and had a telephone interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The three countries agreed to work together to support the comprehensive reforms needed in Lebanon, according to official reports, which added that Saudi Arabia and France have underlined their strong desire to see security and stability prevail in the country.
“Both sides stressed… that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, anti-corruption and border control. The two parties also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures, ”said the joint statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“They also stressed the need to limit weapons to legitimate state institutions, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug traffic.
“They also… agreed to establish a Franco-Saudi humanitarian aid mechanism guaranteeing full transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly and allied countries to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “both parties reiterated their support for the achievement of peace in the Middle East and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement… based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and the ‘Arab peace initiative in a way that guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on the 1967 borders with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as their capital, calling, in this context, for the end of the Israeli settlement policy which threatens the two-state solution. “
Regarding Iran, the joint statement said, “Both sides expressed deep concern about the development of Iran’s nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“France has underlined its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. They also agreed on the need to deal with Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles which have led to attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the crisis in Yemen, the statement said: “France affirmed its full support for the Saudi peace initiative which was presented on March 22, 2021, and condemned the ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by the militias. Houthi and affirmed its historic commitment to preserving the security of the Kingdom. “
In other developments on Saturday, Dr Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, and Philippe Baptiste, CEO of the French National Center for Space Studies, signed a joint cooperation agreement in the field of peaceful use of space space, according to the SPA.
The agreement “aims to provide a framework for cooperation in outer space activities in the peaceful uses of outer space, facilitate the exchange of information and technology, contribute to capacity building and skills, organize visits and mutual meetings, organize training courses and specialized workshops, as well as joint cooperation to develop a climate monitoring mechanism from space.
The SPA also reported that a memorandum of understanding was signed on Saturday that cements the culture
relations between Saudi Arabia and France. “Arriving just weeks after Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud met his French counterpart Dr Roselyn Bachelot in Paris, the MoU is the latest example of strengthening ties between the two countries, ”the report says.
He added: “As part of the five-year agreement, Saudi Arabia and France have pledged to strengthen cooperation and cultural exchanges in a wide range of cultural fields, including architecture, audiovisual production. , design, cinema, heritage, literature, performing arts and visual arts. .
“In addition, the MoU will allow the two countries to explore cultural regulations and policies. It will also be possible to increase the participation of Saudi and French artists in residency exchange programs and to strengthen cooperation between artists and cultural institutions of the two countries.
The SPA indicated that a separate agreement aimed at strengthening tourism cooperation between the two countries was co-signed by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, and Franck Riester, the French Minister for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness economic.
He quoted Al-Khateeb as saying: “France, with its knowledge and experience, will help the Kingdom to develop its tourism activity to attract investment costing $ 810 billion, which will provide the country with tourism opportunities. outside of the Hajj season. Kingdom is expected to have new investment opportunities costing $ 6 trillion by 2030, and that’s all about the excitement. “