In the shadow of Khashoggi, Macron prepares for talks with the Saudi Crown Prince

John Ireland

Reuters, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 4-French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for face-to-face talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, becoming the first since reporter Jamal to set foot The 2018 murder of Khashoggi, the leading Western leader in Saudi territory.

Macron believes that Saudi Arabia is essential to help reach a regional peace agreement with Iran. It is also an ally in the fight against Islamic radicals from the Middle East to West Africa and a bastion against the Muslim Brotherhood.

France is one of Saudi Arabia’s main arms suppliers, but as the Saudi-led coalition is fighting in Yemen against the Houthi rebels allied with Iran, France is facing increasing pressure to review its sales, and the coalition is now the world’s One of the most serious humanitarian crises.

Although relations between Paris and Riyadh have picked up under Macron’s predecessor, Francois Hollande, France has not reaped commercial returns. Although Macron urged critics to give the then 33-year-old alternate leader time before Khashoggi’s murder, the relationship has cooled in recent years.

A business delegation composed of about 100 companies including TotalEnergies, EDF, Thales and Vivendi will participate in an investment forum during Macron’s visit.

Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Macron denied his allegations of legalizing the crown prince and added that the multiple crises in the region cannot be resolved by ignoring the kingdom.

“After the Khashoggi incident, we (can) decide that we have no policy in the region. This is a choice that some people can defend, but I think France can play an important role in the region. This does not mean that we are complicit or complicit. We forgot,” Macron said.

There are very few recent contracts, most of which are focused on the Al-Ula tourism project, which aims to bring the kingdom’s Nabatean history to life arabia-excavate-forgotten kingdom-2021-11-02/#:~:text=AL%20ULA%2C%20Saudi%20Arabia%2C%20Nov, kingdoms%20of%20Dadan%20and%20Lihyan, Saudi Arabia is trying to get rid of the economy And part of the diversification measures taken to shut down oil revenues.

Macron’s visit came at a time when the Gulf Arab countries expressed their uncertainty about the United States’ attention to the region, even though they were seeking more weapons from Washington.

Saudi Arabia is frustrated by the actions of the administration of US President Joe Biden, which pressured Riyadh regarding its human rights record and the war in Yemen, and issued intelligence int /saudi-de-facto-ruler-approved-operation-that-led-to-khashoggis-death-us-idUSKBN2AQ2OA links bin Salman to Khashoggi’s murder.

The crown prince denied any connection with the killing of journalists at the Istanbul consulate in Riyadh, an incident that sparked global anger and tarnished the image of Prince Mohammed.

Agnes Karamad, secretary-general of the human rights organization Amnesty International, said: “Whether it is the purpose or not, (this trip) will help vindicate the Saudi prince’s policies.” “What makes me painful is that France, a human rights country, is The tool of this policy.”

Macron was the first major Western head of state to visit Saudi Arabia since the killing of Khashoggi last year and the COVID-19 pandemic, which dashed Riyadh’s hopes of hosting G20 leaders during its 2020 presidency.

The two are expected to discuss regional issues, including Iran’s nuclear issue and Lebanon -03, So far, Macron has failed to persuade the Gulf Arab countries to try to find a solution, worrying about the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah.

(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Will Dunham)

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