Riyadh (November 10, 2017): French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Saudi Arabia late Thursday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on the rising tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.
Macron, on his debut visit to the Middle East, made the surprise announcement at a news conference in Dubai that he would meet Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.Macron’s talks with Prince Mohammad will cover Iran and Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and its allies have imposed a complete blockade in the wake of a missile attack last Saturday by Tehran-backed Al Houthi rebels.
“I’ve heard some very hard positions” taken by Saudi Arabia against Iran, said Macron, adding it was important to speak to all sides and that France had a role in making peace.The visit comes at a time of increased friction between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are embroiled on opposite sides in Lebanon and Yemen.
The talks would also include developments in Lebanon, whose prime minister Saad Hariri resigned in a shock announcement broadcast from Riyadh on Saturday.
Macron’s visit comes days after Prince Mohammad launched a wide-ranging corruption crackdown, arresting dozens of members of the royal family as well as ministers and businessmen.