The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister concluded his official visit to France during which he held extensive talks with President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and other officials in the French government.
French official sources confirmed that the Saudi crown prince’s visit was “successful by all standards” and was made “to re-emphasise the permanence and continuity of the strategic partnership” that linked Riyadh and Paris. The sources also stressed that the visit’s importance to the French was reflected in Paris’ appreciation of the crown prince, overall satisfaction with Saudi leadership and cooperation with it on grounds that are known to all and guarantee the interests of all parties.
President Francois Hollande awarded Prince Mohammed bin Nayef a Legion of Honour which is considered the highest French honour and indicated France’s official appreciation for the role that he plays in the Arab world and international community.
A joint statement was issued and stressed that the meetings between the two sides “allowed the review and study of the prospects for cooperation in all areas to consolidate the strategic partnership between the two countries and strengthen it”. Both sides expressed “satisfaction with the excellent relations” between the two countries and reaffirmed their “commitment to progress in achieving many of their projects during the third session of the joint committee which will be held in Paris in April”.
The statement said that the two sides discussed regional issues and ways of strengthening international security and the stability of both countries. In this context, both sides stressed their commitment to the international coalition fighting ISIS and commended all efforts that can be made in this area in order to achieve stability in the region including the formation of the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism.
Regarding the Syrian issue, the two countries stressed the need for a credible political solution and sustainable improvement of the situation in order to allow the resumption of negotiations according to the Geneva declaration and Security Council resolutions. They also confirmed their full support of the Iraqi government in its efforts to find a political solution to the current crisis in Iraq by adopting a national reconciliation program.
The Saudi crown prince sent a message of thanks to President Hollande at the end of his visit and said that “the joint discussions that we had proved the strength of relations between our two countries. It also proved the desire to deepen cooperation between them in all fields in order to enhance the strategic partnership in accordance with the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Your Excellency. This strategic partnership aims to benefit the two friendly nations. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef also sent a letter of thanks to Prime Minister Valls.