Saudi Crown Prince’s France visit to focus on tourism, energy and business

Published: Updated:

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrived in Paris on Sunday.

He was received at the Bourget airport near Paris on Sunday morning by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The Crown Prince will hold meetings with President Emmanuel Macron during his two-day official visit starting Monday — his first trip to France as crown prince.

The trip follows a coast-to-coast tour of the United States as well as visits to Britain and Egypt.

Around 18 memorandums of understanding in energy, agriculture, tourism and culture are set to be signed at an official Saudi-France CEO Forum on Tuesday.

A Franco-Saudi cooperation deal to develop Al Ula, a Saudi city richly endowed with archeological remnants, is also expected to be a central highlight of the visit.

Aside from meetings with the French president, prime minister and trade officials, the Crown Prince is also considering a visit to the Paris-based tech start-up campus Station F, the Arab World Institute and a concert in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence.

Macron's office said the trip would also focus on investment in the digital economy as well as renewable energy.

Crown Prince Muhammad’s tour is meant to project “Saudi Arabia is open for business,” Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University, told AFP.

“He is marketing Saudi Arabia as a strategic and business partner to the West and a force of stability in the region,” he said.

Saudi officials project strong relations between Crown Prince Muhammad and Macron, both young leaders undertaking challenging reforms to transform their countries.

“Saudi Arabia is not resetting diplomatic ties with France,” a source said.

“The leadership of both countries share much in common. They are both young, visionary and ambitious.”

(Saudi Gazette and Agencies)