Emmanuel Macron to Receive King Mohammed VI on Tuesday

11 April, 2018, 04:51 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
  • Emmanuel Macron to Receive King Mohammed VI on Tuesday

The gallery tour underscored a central theme of the visit: deepening cultural ties that will see Saudi officials call on French expertise to set up a national opera and orchestra.

Macron also tweeted a picture of the pair at the Louvre looking at the 19th-century masterpiece Liberty Leading The People by revolutionary painter Eugene Delacroix, which shows Liberty as a bare-breasted woman.

The kingdom also revealed that it would enter short films at the Cannes film festival next month for the first time.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) shakes hands with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during the Cedar (CEDRE) Conference for global donors and investors to support Lebanon's economy, in Paris, France, April 6, 2018.

Hariri posted the selfie on his personal Twitter account, accompanied by the caption "no comment".

It appeared created to send a message of reconciliation after Hariri was allegedly pressured to resign by the Saudi royal during a trip to Riyadh last November, causing a crisis which Macron helped defuse.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that France agreed with Saudi Arabia on the need to curb Iranian "expansionism" in the Middle East, while also announcing a conference to boost humanitarian support for Yemen, where Riyadh is waging a bombing campaign.

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Macron later intervened by inviting Hariri to Paris, and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the young Saudi prince´s authority.

The prince's delegation was also attending a forum on Tuesday with French business leaders, which is expected to lead to a host of agreements pledging future economic deals. He has so far met Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly.

Asked whether France might consider following Germany's recent decision to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an Elysee source last week said French arms sales were subject to strict case-by-case approval procedures which considered concerns for civilians.

The French president defended weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, but said he was concerned by the humanitarian situation and would host a conference on the issue before the summer.

The prince´s visit follows a period of underlying tensions with France, not least with regards to Iran.

"We will not tolerate ballistic missiles activities that threaten Saudi Arabia", Macron said.

Macron has been working to save the agreement, and has already announced plans to be the first French president to visit Iran since 1976, as he seeks to build relations with the two competing regional powers in the Middle East.

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