Tuesday, 21 November 2017 11:10 GMT
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Saudi CP Salman wraps up visit to France

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, of Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday wrapped up a three-day visit to France with a meeting Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and a dinner banquet hosted in his honor by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

No official statements were made after the meetings but Prince Salman already met Monday night with President Francois Hollande and both sides made public statements, vowing to further improve their excellent bilateral relations and to work together to solve international crises.

They both urged action to stop the killing and persecution spree by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against local populations and minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Both also acknowledged that they had convergent views on the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and the dangers he poses to security in the region.

France and Saudi Arabia are also close to finalising a deal to help Lebanon, whose army is under-equipped, to fight radical forces attacking Lebanon from Syria.

The French have agreed to supply the Lebanese army with weapons and Saudi Arabia is examining how it will help participate financially in this operation, which is estimated at around USD 3.0 billion. The deal has not yet been publicly announced yet, but was certainly one of the key agenda items for Le Drian to discuss in meetings with Prince Salman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister. The two men met at Prince Salman's hotel residence Wednesday afternoon.

Later, Foreign Minister Fabius met with Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal before having dinner with Prince Salman in a Paris hotel.

Diplomats said that the agenda included all major topics with relevance to the region, and Saudi-French cooperation, particularly with the situation in Iraq and Syria where ISIL is now considered a "global threat." The overall Syrian situation, the question of Iran and the nuclear controversy and other security issues were also on the table, the sources told KUNA. Bilateral ties were also due to be discussed as they were when Prince Salman met French Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday.

Prince Salman wrapped up his three days of intense contacts at government level here but he also found time to visit the Arab World Institute (IMA) and met to discuss culture issues with IMA President Jack Lang. On Thursday Prince Salman will visit UNESCO.


Saudi CP Salman wraps up visit to France

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