Saudi could take part in military response in Syria: Crown Prince

Casey Dawson
April 12, 2018

"Our position is that those who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable and be brought to justice", Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris during a visit by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He is thought to be behind rules allowing women to drive and opening cinemas.

Macron and the Saudi heir had already dined for almost three hours Sunday at the Louvre museum, with the young French leader later tweeting photos of them in front of Eugene Delacroix's "Liberty Leading The People".

Prince Mohammed's visit 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 his country which is often associated in the West with exporting jihadist ideology.

The kingdom also revealed that it would enter short films at the Cannes film festival next month.

France, also, will contribute to back up Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's efforts to upgrade its ministry of defense.

Macron hosted a gala send-off dinner for the crown prince at the presidential Elysee palace. Saudi Arabia pledged a $1 billion credit line.

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Before the trip, Saudi and French officials stressed that cultural ties, as well as new business opportunities, would be at the heart of the talks between government and private-sector figures from both countries.

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.

Civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes have drawn criticism from rights groups, and in October the United Nations placed the alliance on a "blacklist" for killing and maiming children.

Saudi Arabia was France's second-biggest client for both arms deliveries and new arms orders in 2016, according to official data.

Macron, 40, France's youngest leader since Napoleon, and the 32-year-old Saudi prince who goes by MBS, met privately earlier Tuesday to discuss defense, security and economic issues.

But the visit follows a period of underlying tensions.

At a press conference with the de-facto leader of Saudi Arabia, an arch-rival of Iran, Macron admitted to differences with Riyadh on the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, but said the two agreed on the need to "limit Iran's ballistic activity and regional expansionism".

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