Saudi Crown Prince Meets with French PM in Paris

Saudi Crown Prince visits Bush senior

Saudi Crown Prince visits Bush senior

The crown prince arrived in France on Sunday and dined with French President Emmanuel Macron at Paris's Louvre museum.

Speaking with her Saudi counterpart, French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said she had also discussed "the importance of translating books in both directions, from Arab into French and French into Arab".

The prince is on tour of the world to seek support for reform in the conservative oil rich country.

France said on Monday it would help Saudi Arabia set up a national orchestra and opera, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman officially began a two-day visit to the country.

"This is not a traditional state visit", another source close to the delegation told AFP.

The visit also highlighted the successes of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030, and their impact on the economic, social and developmental levels, the minister added.

More than a dozen memorandums of understanding in tourism, energy and transportation are set to be signed between French and Saudi organisations, another source close to the delegation told AFP.

The dinner, held behind a tight security cordon, set the tone for the official part of the visit which started Monday, following a weeks-long tour of the United States, Britain and Egypt.

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Prince Mohammed's tour is meant to project that "Saudi Arabia is open for business", Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University, told AFP.

Macron waded into a regional crisis last November when Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri tendered his resignation on live television from Riyadh.

"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.

Ahead of the trip to France, Saudi officials suggested relations were strong between Macron and the crown prince, both young leaders with reformist agendas.

Macron has also hosted other world leaders at famed French monuments.

As US President Donald Trump threatens to tear up a 2015 nuclear cooperation deal with Iran, Macron will try to convince the Saudi prince that some agreement to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions is better than no deal at all, experts say.

The visit comes amid growing pressure on Macron at home 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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