JEDDAH: A joint statement covering a wide range of issues and the signing of a slew of agreements were the highlights of a visit to Saudi Arabia by French President Emmanuel Macron during the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.
The agreements related to economic cooperation were announced by Saudi and French companies on Saturday while Macron held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince met Macron at Al-Salam Palace, where they discussed bilateral cooperation and held a telephone call with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The three countries agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in Lebanon, according to official reports, which added that Saudi Arabia and France emphasized their keen desire to see security and stability prevail in the country.
“The two sides stressed … that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, combating corruption and border control. The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures,” the joint statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said.
“They also emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate institutions of the state, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug trafficking.
“They also … agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance that ensures complete transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly countries and allies to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.”
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “the two sides reiterated their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement … to be based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and Arab Peace Initiative in a way that ensures the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on 1967 borders with East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital, calling, in this context, for an end to the Israeli settlement policy that threatens the two-state solution.”
With regard to Iran, the joint statement said: “The two sides expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.