Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

Saudi crown prince arrives in Spain on last stop of global tour

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| 12 April, 2018, 00:49

Saudi Arabia's crown prince wrapped up his visit to France yesterday, geared toward shoring up cooperation while addressing the lurking strategic differences between the two countries on a series of crises across the Middle East.

"These people should know that by levelling baseless accusations against Iran and harbouring their delusions about the country, they can not close their eyes to this reality that all regional states and nations as well as close observers of the regional and global developments are fully aware of Saudi Arabia's role in creating, sponsoring and arming the terrorist and violent groups like ISIS in the region", he noted.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, arrived here on Wednesday evening on a state visit to Spain.

Also atop the agenda were the wars in Yemen and Syria; Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran; and the fight against terrorism and terrorist financing.

"If required by our alliance with our partners, we will be there", he said, according to the French translation of his remarks spoken in Arabic.


"If there is one chance that his project succeeds, then it's the responsibility of France to accompany him", Macron said on Tuesday.

Macron, for his part, said there remained differences with Riyadh over the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, but said the two countries saw eye to eye on the need to "limit Iran's ballistic activity and regional expansionism". Several rights groups also have warned of possible legal action if the government does not halt its sales.

Macron insisted there was no better option than enforcing the nuclear deal, but also pushed for post-2025 proposals to ensure the security of the region.

Seventy-five per cent of French people want Macron to suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a YouGov poll found. The move follows statements by Russian Federation and Syria who both said they wanted to facilitate a visit by inspectors.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco earlier announced deals with major French companies including Total, Technip and Suez.

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