Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

French President to Saudi Crown Prince: ‘You Never Listen to Me’

Saudi Crown Prince receives 'firm message' on Khashoggi probe at G20 summit Putin and Saudi Crown Prince got real bro-y at G20 and it's weirding people out
| 01 December, 2018, 06:24

Khashoggi's killing has sparked widespread outrage but Western powers have pledged to maintain close relations with Saudi Arabia, a top oil producer and buyer of United States weapons.

France's President Emmanuel Macron sought firm talks with the crown prince when they met on Friday, according to a French official.

Both leaders are under fire on the global stage, with Salman accused of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at an embassy in Turkey.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov reportedly greeted news of the cancellation by saying that while it was regrettable, it left the Russian president with a couple of extra hours to meet other leaders on the sidelines of the summit.

Mr Trump is also not meeting privately in Buenos Aires with the crown prince, who is trying to rebuild his image after the killing of Washington Post columnist and royal family critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

World leaders including a beaming Vladimir Putin welcomed Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 summit.

Another French official said Macron confronted bin Salman as soon as he saw him enter, calculating that it was better to address his concerns than to ignore them or shun the prince.


Macron continued the conversation, saying he is "a man of my word".

The Elysee Palace also said Macron stressed the need to find a political solution to the war in Yemen in his conversation with bin Salman, whose country's brutal military campaign has left thousands of Yemenis dead over the past four years and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of starvation.

However, the US Senate is less enthusiastic about Saudi relations, voting this week to end support for the Saudi coalition in the war in Yemen.

In a five-minute exchange on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Macron conveyed "very firm" messages to the prince over the murder of Khashoggi and on the need to find a political solution for the situation in Yemen, the official added. Saudi authorities eventually admitted Khashoggi had been murdered.

The U.S. president also didn't pay much attention to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who found himself snubbed for the second time in a month after Trump used Twitter to torpedo their planned meeting in Argentina. The two leaders are controversial figures at the summit.

"They exchanged pleasantries at the leaders' session as he did with almost every leader in attendance", the White House official said on Friday.

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