French President Emmanuel Macron met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday for the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.
The pair held a joint phone call with Lebanon's prime minister in a significant gesture amid an unprecedented crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
During the calls with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Macron said France and Saudi Arabia expressed their commitment to Lebanon, despite Saudi Arabia’s uneasiness with Iran's sway over the small Mediterranean country.
Macron did not, however, say whether punitive measures targeting Lebanon by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations will be revoked.
Macron said during the call that he and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman relayed “a clear message Saudi Arabia and France want to be fully committed.”
It was the first call between Mikati, who took office in September, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, a traditional ally of Lebanon.
Mikati said the call with the French and Saudi leaders “is an important step” toward restoring historic relations with Riyadh.
The French president indicated that France and Saudi Arabia will work together to offer essential, humanitarian assistance to Lebanon.
It marked another intervention by Macron to try and aid Lebanon, a nation that was once a French protectorate.
Afghanistan in focus
Macron met the crown prince in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, where the kingdom is in the midst of hosting its first-ever Formula One race and a pop concert by Justin Bieber, despite calls by rights groups for a boycott.
It’s the latest push by the young crown prince to showcase the social reforms he’s ushered in and been hailed for.
Simultaneously, though, the prince has also spearheaded a pervasive crackdown on human rights activists and critics, culminating in the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018 in Turkey, an operation that stained the prince’s reputation abroad.
Macron, 43, has consistently kept a line of communication open with the 36-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, including during times of international controversy.
Earlier in the day, Macron was in Qatar, where he told reporters that France and a number of European nations were considering opening a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.
Macron said France and other EU countries are thinking about “having a common site to several European countries where our ambassadors or chargés d'affaires can be present” in Afghanistan.
He stressed this would not signal political recognition or political dialogue with the Taliban.
Reviving Iran talks
Throughout his meetings in the Gulf, Macron’s talks have also focused on the revived talks regarding Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, of which France is a party to.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom have signalled the 2015 nuclear agreement — with minor tweaks — is the way forward with Iran. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia had opposed the negotiated deal with Iran, though both have since held talks with Tehran to cool tensions.
During Macron’s visit to the UAE on Friday, France announced the UAE is buying 80 upgraded Rafale warplanes in a deal worth 16 billion euros and represents the largest-ever French weapons contract for export. The deal faced criticism by human rights groups concerned about the UAE's involvement in the war in Yemen.
- Multiple Suspects In Alleged Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi Have Links To Saudi Crown Prince
- Emmanuel Macron meets Blackadder junior during his summit with Theresa May as he’s pictured at Sandhurst with Rowan Atkinson’s soldier son
- Jamal Khashoggi's family called to palace by Saudi royals
- Saudi Arabia: Powerful, but not omnipotent after Khashoggi affair
- Saudi Arabia 'not consulted' over US drone strike to kill Iran general Qasem Soleimani
- Demands for release of Saudi activist as Kingdom hosts Spanish Super Cup
- Saudi Arabia Gathers Allies Against Iran 'Terror,' but Lebanon, Iraq and Syria Don't Show
- In Saudi Arabia, World Oil Supplies Are in Flames
- Saudi Arabia Is Quietly Cozying Up To Russia: What Does It Mean For The Middle East?
- Japan pursues regional diplomacy to defuse Gulf tensions
- Saudi Aramco to Sell 1.5% Stake, Raise Up to $25.6 Billion
- Japan making diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions in Gulf: official
- Downcast Queen arrives for church at Sandringham as Prince Charles makes a flying visit to Oman ahead of tomorrow's royal showdown over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to quit duties - after Wills revealed sadness at the 'broken bond'
- Saudi Oil Giant Aramco Pushes IPO to Record $29.4 Billion
- Royal welcome for Trump: Donald and Melania Trump meet the Queen and Kate Middleton as Buckingham Palace hosts spectacular reception for Nato summit
- Social media brings change in Gulf despite efforts at control
- Kuwait and Saudi Arabia strike deal on shared oilfields
- The Crown bosses 'doubt' they will cover Meghan and Harry quitting as royals because the Netflix drama will END before it reaches present day
- Harry and Meghan's Royal romance: From a star-studded wedding and the birth of Archie to a 'rift' with Prince William and controversy over their bid to 'modernise' the monarchy
- Royal Tour, Day 9: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Fiji
France's Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop have 842 words, post on www.euronews.com at December 4, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.