RIYADH: Political, cultural and economic relations will be on the menu during the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian's visit to Riyadh, which starts today.
Le Drian will be received by King Salman and hold talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prince Badr bin Farhan and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
The French foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia takes place within the framework of the close bilateral political dialogue that France has with Saudi Arabia. Opportunities to develop economic and cultural relations as part of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 will also be explored.
Saudi Arabia is France’s largest trading partner in the region. In 2015, French exports to the Kingdom increased by 6 percent to reach more than 3 billion euros, while French imports exceeded 5 billion euros. In 2016, French exports and imports to the Kingdom totalled more than 8 billion euros.
More than 80 French companies operate in Saudi Arabia and employ nearly 28,000 people, including 10,000 Saudis. And 24 Saudi companies have been established in France, employing about 3,200 people and generating a turnover of nearly €350 million.
Le Drian will give a speech at the MiSK Global Forum on Thursday.
He will also participate in the launch of a new range of “FitLife” premium poultry products in the presence of senior Saudi politicians and businessmen.
Le Drian’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes six days after a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, who met Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.