Crown prince and Hollande set for key talks in France

French President Fracois Hollande (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

French President Fracois Hollande (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, will pay an official visit to Paris on Thursday, March 3, for talks on regional and bilateral issues, French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot told Arab News on Sunday.

During his visit, the crown prince is expected to hold talks with French President François Hollande, Premier Manuel Valls and other senior officials of the French government.

Besancenot described the planned meeting as a strategic dialogue between the crown prince and key French officials.

Besancenot said the two countries maintain excellent political, economic and cultural relations.

France and the Kingdom have been victims of terror and there is a strong need to fight this menace for its total annihilation, the ambassador said,

He also said the regional issues that will be taken up for discussions during the forthcoming Paris talks, would include the situation in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.

The two countries have a common position for a fresh regime in Syria without Bashar AAssad, he said.

In the field of bilateral relations, he said that the two countries maintain a global partnership in all sectors.

“The foreign ministers of the two countries are constantly in contact with each other at least two times a week,” he said, highlighting the strong level of friendship between the two countries.

He recalled that the second Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum, held in Riyadh in October, ended with the signing of numerous cooperation agreements in the presence of Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius. More than 1,500 Saudi businessmen and some 300 French businessmen attended the event.

“We appreciate the predominant role played by the Kingdom in G-20 and as a regional political leader committed to peace and security in the region,” said the envoy.

“We have ambitious plans with the Kingdom to expand our relations in all fields,” he said.

“We want to actively participate in Saudi Arabia’s diversification programs, increase the presence of French companies and also increase the number of Saudi students studying in France from 1,500 to 5000 in the coming years,” added the ambassador.

The envoy said that the French Consulate was established in Jeddah in 1879 and the two countries have been enjoying friendly relations for the past 175 years.


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