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Saudi Crown Prince calls for French investment - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz (L) and French PM Manuel Valls meet (R) in Paris, France on September 2, 2014 (SPA)

Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz (L) and French PM Manuel Valls meet (R) in Paris, France on September 2, 2014 (SPA)

Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz called on French businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in the Kingdom on Tuesday, on the second day of an official visit to Paris.

In a speech to the Saudi–French Business Forum in Paris on Tuesday, Prince Salman, who also serves as the Kingdom’s deputy prime minister and minister of defense, said that Saudi Arabia was one of the most stable and attractive countries for investment and offered many incentives to investors, and that Saudi–French ties were growing stronger.

“[Saudi–French ties are] currently witnessing a significant leap due to the willingness of the political leadership in both countries to support and strengthen [relations] in all fields to achieve the interests of both countries,” Crown Prince Salman said.

The Crown Prince held a meeting on Tuesday with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and discussed cooperation between the two countries, as well as the latest developments in the Middle East, following a meeting with French President François Hollande on Monday.

Sources quoted Valls as saying that he would “personally” follow up the relationship with Saudi Arabia, stressing France’s desire to promote Saudi investments in France and increase the activity of small- and medium-sized French companies in the Kingdom.

Prince Salman earlier received at his Paris residence Saudi students studying in France on military scholarships. The Crown Prince said: “We thank God as we see [our] citizens and especially our youth seeking education all over the world, and this is evidence of the King’s concern for the people of his country.”

On Wednesday, Crown Prince Salman is expected to hold meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

French sources said: “The Saudi air force will hold joint training exercises next month with the French air force at an air base near the city of Grenoble in southeast France.”

The source added that among the issues discussed, and currently being finalized, was the shipment of French arms to the Lebanese military, funded by Saudi Arabia’s recent donation of more than 3 billion US dollars for this purpose.

According to Paris, the three parties—France, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon—have agreed on the list of arms and are awaiting some legal details to be finalized before moving to the final stage of signing the contracts and delivering the weapons.