And so the world tour continues...the new reforming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s munificent caravan hoovering up expensive arms contracts from grateful western allies, and reassuring skeptics that Saudi Arabia has changed fundamentally for the better.
But the Riyadh gold making its way into the coffers of the UK and US governments will not be on display in France now; the relationship between these two countries is more nuanced than with others.
True, Paris is keen to strengthen its ties – especially in the wake of Brexit – when the UK’s role as most reliable EU ally for Saudi Arabia becomes vacant.
But the relationship between the two countries has not been easy ever since King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, found France’s colonial history troublesome.
Far easier to deal with the US which had none of the colonial hang overs of Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world. Even today France takes a very different stance on Qatar, Yemen and Iran than Riyadh would like.
The lesson will have been learned by Paris that to be on board with the modernizing Prince, and benefit from it, means to inhabit his worldviewNajah Alotaibi