Saudi Crown Prince holds talks with Hollande

French President Francois Hollande (L) and Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud arrive for an official dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 1, 2014.

French President Francois Hollande (L) and Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud arrive for an official dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 1, 2014.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz held talks in Paris on Monday with President Francois Hollande on bilateral cooperation in various areas, including combating the rise of terrorism in the Middle East region.

Prince Salman, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, met Hollande and was treated to an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace.

The two are likely to touch on a multi-billion dollar package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon’s army that Riyadh has agreed to finance, as Beirut faces the threat of jihadists on its border with Syria.

Prince Salman is also due to meet Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday for talks over the situation in Iraq and Syria, where jihadists have seized swathes of territory and are terrorizing Christians and other minorities, according to AFP.

On Thursday, Hollande rejected any cooperation with Bashar al-Assad whom he accused of being a “de-facto ally” of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, after the Syrian leader’s regime said it was willing to work with the international community to tackle the jihadists.

And in comments carried on national TV on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah warned the West would be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is “rapid” action.

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by Asharq al-Awsat daily and Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya television station.

The visit comes just over two weeks after Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd fell victim to a brazen heist on the Paris ring road when a gang of heavily armed bandits hijacked the lead vehicle of his 10-car convoy and stole at least 250,000 euros and documents.

 
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