By Arab News
French President Emmanuel Macron was received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al-Salam palace in Jeddah on Saturday.
The two leaders dicussed bilateral cooperation, the latest developments in the Middle East, and efforts to achieve international stability and peace.
The crown prince hosted a working lunch for the president and it was also attended by Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad and other officials.
A joint Saudi-French statement welcomed the strength of economic relations between the two countries and agreed on the importance of strengthening economic partnership, enhancing private sector participation, exchanging expertise, developing human capabilities, and utilizing opportunities offered by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and France’s 2030 economic plan in various sectors of joint interest.
The Kingdom welcomed the increased cooperation of French companies in sectors within Vision 2030, including energy, water, and waste management, sustainable cities, transportation, civil aviation, mobility solutions, digital economy and health.
France also desires to attract Saudi investments in the public and private sectors, namely in new technologies, emerging companies and industries of the future, the statement said.
The Kingdom, meanwhile, aspires to boost Saudi private sector investments in the French market.
The two sides commended the signing of different contracts and agreements in all economic fields during meetings that took place on the sidelines of the visit and that renewed the deep private sector partnership in both countries.
France and Saudi Arabia agreed on the need for the Lebanese government to carry out comprehensive reforms in the finance, energy, and anti-corruption sectors.
The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures and emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate state institutions.
They said that Lebanon should not be a launch pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or be a source of drug trafficking.
The two countries also expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and Tehran’s lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
France stressed its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.
They also agreed on the need to confront Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles that have led to attacks on the Kingdom.
Macron arrived in Jeddah earlier on Saturday and was received at the airport by Makkah governor Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.
The president’s visit to Saudi Arabia was the final stop in a two-day tour of three Gulf states.
Earlier in the day, Macron was in Qatar, where he praised the state’s role in assisting with evacuation efforts of European citizens out of Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country over the summer.