Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat—French and Saudi sources familiar with the talks between officials from both countries during Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdualaziz’s visit say both sides are happy with the outcome of discussions.
The sources expressed “total satisfaction” with both the atmosphere and the results of the discussions between the two sides, as the Crown Prince’s official three-day visit came to a close on Thursday.
Crown Prince Salman, who also serves as the Kingdom’s deputy prime minister and minister of defense, met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The meeting was also attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and senior Saudi and French officials.
Fabius said the French government attached great importance to the visit due to Saudi Arabia’s status and its international influence, while Prince Salman expressed his satisfaction with the visit and his meetings with French leaders, which served the interests of both countries, he said.
Following the meetings Fabius said: “The president and the prime minister discussed serious issues with Crown Prince Salman, especially the events in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.” He added that “our positions are very close and aim to find peace and fight terrorism, which has become a threat to everyone.”
On the Iraq issue, Fabius said France hoped Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi would succeed in forming an inclusive government soon, and that France was in the process of planning an international conference on the current crisis in the country.
French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that French officials had briefed their Saudi counterparts on the details of the planned meeting.
The sources added that Saudi Arabia did not express any initial objections to the identity of the regional and international parties which could participate in the conference. France is expected to invite Iran on the condition that its participation in an international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will be kept separate from ongoing discussions on its nuclear program.
The Crown Prince also met French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at his Paris residence on Wednesday.
Aside from meetings with government officials, Crown Prince Salman also held a meeting with the president of the Arab World Institute (IMA), Jack Lang. The Prince expressed his support for the work of the institute, which recently held a Hajj exhibition in Paris and is planning other activities, some involving Saudi Arabia.
A joint statement is expected to be published when the visit is concluded on Thursday.