Saudi crown prince visits France to share his 'new vision'

Saudi crown prince arrives in France on global tour

Saudi crown prince arrives in France on global tour

Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arrives in France Sunday on the next leg of his global tour aimed at reshaping his kingdom's austere image overseas.

"Prince Mohammed is strengthening ties with traditional allies US, UK and France as he is set to be the next king of Saudi Arabia", Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.

During his USA tour, the Crown Prince also had meetings with President Trump and former President Barack Obama.

Speaking to the press, French presidency said that the two countries are considering to investing, particularly in digital and renewable energy sectors, in order to build national economies.

The prince is on tour of the world to seek support for reform in the conservative oil rich country.

Paris: Saudi Aramco will sign eight deals worth $10 billion with French firms on Tuesday, the chief executive of the state-run oil giant said on Monday - the main contracts expected to be sealed during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to France.

A Franco-Saudi deal to develop Al Ula, a Saudi city richly endowed with archaeological remnants, is also set to be a central highlight of the visit, the source said.

Prince Mohammed denied the report in an interview with Time magazine published on Thursday, during his official visit to the United States.

The powerful young prince who is behind modernising reforms in Saudi Arabia is on a three-day trip at a time when relations between the two countries have become more complicated.

Prince Mohammed seeks to show "Saudi Arabia is open for business", Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University, told AFP.

"The visit was also aimed at enhancing the Kingdom's arsenal, increasing the trade volume, and discussing further commercial deals between the two friendly countries, creating more jobs for both nations", he said.

Macron also faces the challenge of bolstering ties with the world's top crude exporter while managing other regional relationships in the Middle East.

Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" for France to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a poll last month by independent research group YouGov.

And this week, 10 worldwide rights groups implored Macron to pressure Prince Mohammed over the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

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