Saudi crown prince kicks off official visit to Paris
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince kicked off his official visit to France April 8, part of an image-building global tour as he seeks to revitalise cultural and investment ties with Paris despite lurking tensions.
Macron, 40, faces a diplomatic tightrope in talks with the reformist prince as he seeks to bolster ties with the world’s top crude exporter, while also managing relations with the kingdom’s arch-rival Iran.
A scheduled visit to the Paris-based start-up campus Station F along with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was abruptly cancelled, but the two leaders are set to meet for lunch on Monday.
The 32-year-old prince, who spearheads the kingdom’s armed forces, is also set to meet French Defence Minister Florence Parly.
Amnesty International took out a full-page advertisement in the Liberation newspaper on April 9, featuring the feet of an executed prisoner, which urged Macron to talk about human rights with Prince Salman.
It reminded readers that the Arab kingdom carries out the third-highest number of executions worldwide.