Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince meets with UNESCO director during France visit

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, on Thursday as part of his visit to France, the second and last leg of his European tour.

During the meeting, the Crown Prince and Azoulay discussed cultural initiatives led by Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s mutual cooperation with UNESCO - a specialized agency of the United Nations - and ways to enhance cultural relations.

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The meeting was attended by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and Chairman of the National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the UNESCO, and General Supervisor for Cultural Affairs and International Relations at the Ministry of Culture, Rakan al-Touq.

In April this year, Saudi Arabia committed $25 million to UNESCO strategy and actions for the preservation of heritage.

Areas to be covered include digital technologies, sustainable cultural tourism, the safeguarding of traditional building techniques, the preservation of World Heritage sites and the promotion of creative economies, among others. Activities will contribute to the advancement of UNESCO’s priority programs as well as to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

On Thursday the Crown Prince also met with France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace ahead of talks regarding bilateral ties and regional developments.

The Crown Prince will also discuss issues of common interest with the French leadership.

The Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Paris follows Macron’s visit to Jeddah last December.

Saudi Arabia and France enjoy strong economic ties. The trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and France over the past five years amounted to 163 billion Saudi Riyals ($43.4 billion). Non-oil Saudi exports to France reached 1.7 billion Saudi Riyals ($453 million) in 2021, a 105 percent increase compared to 2020.

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