Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Saudi Prince faces Yemen protests

Saudi Prince faces Yemen protests

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz met on Monday with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in Paris.

Speaking to the press, French presidency said that the two countries are considering to investing, particularly in digital and renewable energy sectors, in order to build national economies.

A Saudi-France economic forum is due to take place on Tuesday with an official signing ceremony in the afternoon.

Prince Mohammed had arrived in Paris on Sunday on an official visit.

"This is not a traditional state visit", another source close to the Saudi delegation told AFP.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has begun investigations and opening arguments in the corruption cases of princes, top officials and businessmen who were detained late past year, an official told pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat yesterday, as reported by Reuters.

In addition, Mr. Macron also faces the challenge of bolstering ties with the world's top crude exporter while managing other regional relationships in the Middle East.

The prince has used his global tour to project his reforms - including the historic lifting of a ban on women driving, cinemas and mixed-gender concerts - as part of his pledge to return the kingdom to moderate Islam.

The powerful young prince who is behind modernising reforms in Saudi Arabia is on a three-day trip at a time when relations between the two countries have become more complicated.

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"The leadership of both countries share much in common".

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.

Amid the flurry of announcements, campaigners were mobilised to keep attention focused on French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and rights abuses in the country.

But the trip follows a period of underlying tensions.

Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" for France to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a poll last month by independent research group YouGov.

Authorities rounded up dozens of people in November on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's orders, with many confined to and interrogated at Riyadh's opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Demonstrators will greet the prince with protests over the Saudi-led coalition's air strikes in Yemen to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The crown prince has emphasised closer ties with US President Donald Trump just as Macron has sought to improve relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-nemesis.

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