Saudi Arabia-France: Paris does not want to be left out of Saudi largesse

French President Francois Hollande, left, talks with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown and  Defense Minister Prince Moahmmed bin Salman, andduring a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Hollande is the guest of honor of the Gulf cooperation council summit in Riyadh, where security issues in the region are going to be discussed. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed Salman flew to France on Tuesday at the invitation of France for bilateral cooperation exchange following his two-day visit to Russia.

Few days after he visited President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince who is also Minister of Defense headed to France on Tuesday to discuss with President François Hollande and other French officials means to strengthen bilateral relations and expand the scope of their cooperation.

The invitation extended to the Crown Prince was seen as an attempt by France to get closer to Saudi Arabia and consequently not to miss the huge economic and investment opportunities offered by the Gulf Kingdom.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that Saudi Arabia and France will sign landmark agreements worth tens of billions of euros in the fields of defense, civil aviation, solar energy and training during the three-day official visit of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

“Talks will cover the entire gamut of political, economic and military fields, in addition to the major developments in the region, especially the Yemeni and Iraqi situations,” Fabius said

Saudi-French relations have been steadily progressing and the two countries which have identical views about a lot of common issues are working together to boost security, stability and peace in the world, especially in the region.

The two countries’ bilateral cooperation covers various fields including political, economic, cultural and defense.

Paris has brought its support to Saudi Arabia in its response to the Yemeni crisis. Paris is endorsing the Saudi-led military coalition pounding Houthi rebels in Yemen and also supporting its efforts to combat terrorism in the region.

Hollande visited Riyadh in May and appeared at a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, making him the first Western leader to attend.

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