By Arab News
After a very successful two-week business and political visit to the US, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in France on Sunday.
He thanked US President Barack Obama for extending to him and his delegation a warm reception and most generous hospitality.
In a cable of thanks, the deputy crown prince said: “I am pleased to extend to Your Excellency my deep thanks for the warm reception and generous hospitality accorded to me and the accompanying delegation.
“Mr. President, I would like to commend again the historical and strategic relations between our two countries. The discussions held during the visit will contribute to deepening and strengthening these relations and enhancing the bonds of mutual cooperation. They will help achieve the interests of our two countries and their friendly peoples under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Your Excellency.
“I wish you continued good health and happiness, and for the friendly people of the US, further progress and prosperity.”
The deputy crown prince then flew to France from the US.
According to a statement from the Royal Court, the visit to France is in response to an invitation from the French government.
In France, he will meet President François Hollande and a number of French officials to discuss issues and topics of common interest and aspects of cooperation between the two friendly countries, the statement said.
The French visit is of great significance because of the political, diplomatic, military, economic and other matters that will be taken up in talks with President Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as well as Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
The French Embassy in Riyadh announced that the French president would receive the deputy crown prince at the Élysée Palace on Monday.
According to the embassy’s statement, the deputy crown prince and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will preside over a meeting of the Third Saudi-French Joint Committee on Tuesday and will also discuss the comprehensive bilateral strategic partnership and regional issues.
Visits between the two countries are an expression of the positive developments in relations and confirms that the Kingdom enjoys a varied industrial base, an environment that encourages the private sector, organizational and administrative frameworks that enable it to develop strategic partnerships and relations with countries such as France, and attract high-tech and value-added investments.
Senior officials in France spoke about distinguished political and economic relations between Riyadh and Paris, especially in light of the 80 French companies working in the Kingdom which contribute to nationalyzing technology as well as training 27,000 Saudis.
Saudi-French relations, which began between King Faisal and the French President Charles de Gaulle in 1967, are distinctive because of the convergence of views on many regional issues, including Syria, Iraq, Iranian intervention in the region, Yemen, Libya and the fight against terrorists.
Earlier, before leaving the US for France, the deputy crown prince, who is also chairman of the board of directors of Misk Charitable Foundation, signed with Bill Gates, the co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a cooperation agreement for training Saudi leaders working in the charitable field.
The agreement covers the transfer of the best means of governance to charitable foundations in Saudi Arabia, and also developing charitable products in the Kingdom.