Saudi crown prince’s visit to focus on culture, tourism and business

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Paris-Le Bourget airport on Sunday. AFP
Updated 09 April 2018

Saudi crown prince’s visit to focus on culture, tourism and business

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Emmanuel Macron meeting on Tuesday.
  • Kingdom tapping into French expertise on culture and tourism

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in France on Sunday on the fourth leg of his international tour for a stop that will focus on building relations over culture and tourism.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian received the crown prince at the Paris Le-Bourget Airport. The Saudi Ambassador to France, Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari, and French Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Francois Gouyette were also present.
The crown prince arrived from his three-week tour of the US, which finished in Houston where he met former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. While in America he met US President Donald Trump and political leaders in Washington, finance chiefs in New York and the CEOs of the tech and entertainment worlds on the West Coast.
In France, the visit will include business events and a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, a similarly young and ambitious leader keen on radical reforms.
But the main focus will be on culture and tourism as the Kingdom looks to tap into French expertise to help develop its archaeological sites and preserve its heritage.
Details of a collaboration between the two countries over the ancient site of Al-Ula, which contains the Madain Saleh tombs are expected to be announced during a high-profile gala dinner.
Several other cultural events have also been arranged to coincide with the visit. 
The Misk Foundation, the crown prince’s philanthropic organization to develop arts and culture, is holding a two-day event at one of the most famous museums in the French capital, the Arab World Institute. The event will include an art exhibition, a virtual reality film and cultural performances.
The Kingdom’s General Culture Authority has organized a cultural event that lasts for three days starting on Monday and will showcase films, exhibitions and performances from young Saudi artists at the Palais de Tokyo.
On Tuesday, the crown prince will meet with Macron at the Élysée Palace, when the two men are expected to discuss a range of issues, including Syria, the war in Yemen and Iranian influence in the region.
France has taken a tougher line on Iran since Macron became the president and has strongly condemned Tehran’s ballistic missile program.
Around 18 memorandums of understanding in energy, agriculture, tourism and culture are set to be signed at an official Saudi-France CEO Forum on Tuesday, a source close to the crown prince’s delegation told AFP.
“This is not a traditional state visit,” another source close to the Saudi delegation told AFP. “It is about forging a new partnership with France, not just shopping for deals.”
Macron’s office said the trip would also focus on investment in the digital economy as well as renewable energy, as the world’s top crude exporter pumps billions of dollars in the sector in a bid to diversify its economy.


Saudi foreign minister meets German officials

Updated 22 February 2020

Saudi foreign minister meets German officials

BERLIN: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who is on an official visit to Berlin, on Saturday met Dr. Johann Wadephul, the deputy chairman of the ruling party's parliamentary bloc and the rapporteur on relations with the Middle East, Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Iran parliamentary committee, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Faisal and Wadephul reviewed the existing partnership between the two countries and ways to promote them according to their mutual interests. 

The minister had a separate meeting with Nils Schmid, who is spokesman for the Social Democratic Party for foreign affairs in the German Bundestag.

They discussed ways to enhance the partnership between the Kingdom and Germany, reviewing regional and international developments in order to achieve their common goals in enhancing security and stability.

On Friday, Prince Faisal met Armin Laschet, who is the premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. They reviewed  prospects for joint cooperation, in addition to exchanging views on the latest regional and international developments.

The Saudi minister also met Prof. Dr. Volker Perthes, who is CEO of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Aspects of cooperation were discussed, as well as the importance of the roles of international security institutes in exploring the reality of security challenges and finding solutions to them.

Prince Faisal also met the president of the German Federal Academy for Security Policy, Ekkehard Brose. They reviewed aspects of cooperation and ways of consolidating political and security dialogue at regional and international levels.