Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz continued his latest official visit to France with talks on the strategic relationship between the two countries with French President François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Monday, according to French presidential sources.
The sources said a number of political issues were also discussed at the meeting, which revolved around Middle East security and the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which both President Hollande and Prince Salman, who also serves as the Kingdom’s deputy prime minister and defense minister, agreed posed a serious international threat.
The French president also briefed Crown Prince Salman on the progress of talks between the major powers and Iran, said the sources, and that Hollande stressed that France wanted to keep Iran’s role in the fight against ISIS separate from the nuclear issue.
President Hollande and Crown Prince Salman also attended a state banquet at the Élysée Palace on Monday evening.
In his speech at the banquet, President Hollande described Crown Price Salman as “one of the builders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” and said that he had “strongly contributed to what has been achieved so far.” Hollande also praised King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz for his wisdom and farsightedness.
For his part, Crown Prince Salman expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation of France’s efforts to “achieve peace and stability in our region, which unfortunately has been going through successive crises which have affected regional and international peace and stability.”
The Crown Prince added: “The Kingdom has endeavored in its contacts with its friends to embody Islamic values and principles, which include tolerance, brotherhood, justice, and the call for dialogue, as well as denouncing extremism and violence, and fighting terrorism.”
He said Saudi Arabia became aware at an early stage of the dangers of the phenomenon of terrorism, and added that his visit to France was at the behest of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and aimed to strengthen the existing partnership between the two countries.