Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

France says to help Saudi Arabia set up orchestra, opera

France says to help Saudi Arabia set up orchestra, opera

His Royal Highness also made visits to Google's Mountain View headquarters, again to discuss the establishment of a training centre for Saudi youth, and met with Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. "It is about forging a new partnership with France, not just shopping for deals".

Prince Mohammed, 32, and President Emmanuel Macron both paint themselves as champions of their nations' plugged-in youths with a modernising message that has resonated strongly with younger Saudis and French citizens.

France nurtured closer ties with the kingdom under president Francois Hollande.

In October 2015, France signed aerospace and military contracts worth US$12.28bn to develop transport, energy, health and food markets in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has begun investigations and opening arguments in the corruption cases of princes, top officials and businessmen who were detained late a year ago, an official told pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat yesterday, as reported by Reuters.

Macron, 40, faces a diplomatic tightrope in talks with the prince as he seeks to bolster his ties with the world's top oil exporter, while also managing relations with the kingdom's arch-rival Iran.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is making his first official visit to France, which is hoping to profit from his shake-up of the conservative kingdom.

Saudi officials project strong ties between Prince Mohammed and Macron, both young leaders undertaking the hard task of reforming their countries, but the trip follows a period of underlying tensions.

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"This is a signal both to domestic as well as worldwide observers that he is in charge and can leave the country for several weeks without any challenge to his authority", he added.

But the visit follows a period of underlying tensions.

France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who worked closely with Prince Mohammed as defence minister in the previous French government, greeted him at the airport, the Saudi foreign ministry said on Twitter.

Mr. Macron invited Mr. Hariri to Paris for talks and he has since rescinded his resignation, a development that observers say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.

Campaigners are mobilising to denounce French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia despite the kingdom's role in the long-running war in Yemen.

He is set to meet French President Emmanual Macron on Tuesday.

Macron is under growing pressure from lawmakers and rights groups over France's weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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