Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Lebanon PM posts selfie with Saudi crown prince in Paris

Lebanon PM posts selfie with Saudi crown prince in Paris Lebanon PM posts selfie with Saudi crown prince in Paris
Julia Gonzales | 11 April, 2018, 04:50

The deal will see the Paris Opera company help Saudi Arabia produce its own classical music and shows, a further sign of Prince Mohammed's desire to change the image of his homeland.

A French lawyer representing the Legal Center for Rights and Development filed the suit against the crown prince, now in France on an official visit, for his leading role in the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Macron and Prince Mohammed met for almost three hours Sunday at the Louvre museum, where they visited an exhibition of 19th century painter Eugene Delacroix, creator of the famous "Liberty Leading The People" painting.

The conservative kingdom will be represented at the Cannes Film Festival for the first time next month.

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

Hariri tweeted a picture of the trio smiling and dressed casually accompanied by a caption of "no comment".

Macron waded into a regional crisis last November when Lebanon's Prime Minister tendered his resignation on live television from Riyadh, apparently under pressure from Prince Mohammed.

After agreements worth billions of dollars were announced, the two leaders are expected to discuss a future "strategic partnership" expected to see new contracts signed during Macron's trip to Saudi Arabia at the end of the year.

No plans for Chinese military base, says Vanuatu
The denials won't quell concerns over the communist nation's efforts to grow its influence in the South Pacific. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not sound completely reassured by Regenvanu's assurances.

The memoranda of understanding cover sectors including petrochemicals, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities, the French-Saudi business forum said in a statement.

Macron, 40, is treading a diplomatic tightrope with the prince as he seeks to bolster his ties with the world´s top oil exporter while also managing relations with Iran.

The kingdom is the lead partner in a coalition of countries bombing and blockading Yemen, where a combination of fighting, disease and food shortages has led it to be dubbed the world's worst humanitarian crisis by the UN.

France traditionally has been a major arms supplier to the Saudis, but French officials said no big weapons contracts were planned to coincide with the crown prince's three-day official visit.

The prince's visit to France is part of a global tour that has already seen him travel to the United States, Britain and Egypt as he seeks to project a more moderate vision of Saudi Arabia.

After Paris, he will head to Madrid, before travelling home ahead of the next Arab League summit meeting, on April 15 in Riyadh.

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

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