By Arab News
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French president have committed their two nations to seeking joint solutions to the crises affecting the Middle East.
This came as Prince Mohammed wrapped up his visit to the country on Wednesday and sent a message to Francois Hollande thanking him for hosting him and holding talks on deepening cooperation on the political, social and economic fronts, SPA reported.
Prince Mohammed had held several meetings on Tuesday in Paris, including a visit to the country’s Parliament, and French Business Council where he briefed members on Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020, the plans to diversify the country’s economy with a focus on investment income.
He also held a meeting with Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO and urged further cooperation in terms of developing education and having more archaeological sites in the Kingdom placed on the World Heritage List.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking at a symposium hosted by the French Diplomatic Academy, said Saudi Arabia and France shared views on how to deal with problems in the Middle East, including Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“There is a sectarian problem in our region created and encouraged by Iran after 1979. After the Iranian revolution a revolutionary system was established in Iran that wanted to act as if it were responsible for every Shiite in the world, and as a result we have seen increasing sectarianism in the Middle East. Then the Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon … Iran is behind the unrest in the region,” he said.
He said that all acts of terrorism and civil wars in the region can be linked to Iran. The country has to change its behavior so that there can be a dialogue. It must stop interfering in the internal affairs of Yemen, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinians, he said.
“Saudi Arabia had no interest in conducting a war in Yemen but we had no choice when there was a militia allied with Hezbollah and Iran fighting there, with forces and ballistic missiles only 30 miles away from our borders. It was crucial for us to act,” he said. There was now hope for a political solution because most of the country was controlled by the government, and to rebuild Yemen, he said.
On Syria, Al-Jubeir said a solution must be found without Bashar Assad because he killed and displaced millions of his own people. This has caused the rise in terrorism in that part of the world, he said.