It has been a busy travel week for Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the top Saudi officials who accompanied him to Moscow and now Paris. As with the Russia visit the Paris trip brought consultations with the head of government, defense officials and others as well as a host of bilateral agreements on a range of subjects including nuclear energy and materials, healthcare, and defense and aerospace sales.
In the case of the Paris trip, it follows bilateral visits by French President Hollande to Riyadh in May for the GCC Summit — the first ever foreign leader to attend such a meeting, Foreign Minister Fabius’ trip to Riyadh in April, Hollande’s Riyadh visit in January to offer condolences on the passing of King Abdullah, King Salman’s, then Crown Prince, travel to France last September, and Hollande’s December 2013 Saudi-French summit and delegation visit on defense and commercial relations.
To mark this latest bilateral round we have assembled a number of reports from the Saudi Press Agency to chronicle the latest in Saudi-French relations. Check the links that follow for more reporting on these developments. We have also assembled photographs from the Saudi delegation consultations in Paris. You can view them at this link.
French President, Deputy Crown Prince Witness Signing Ceremony of Saudi-French Accords
Paris, Ramadan 7, 1436, Jun 24, 2015, SPA — France’s President Francois Hollande and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and the Chairman of the Economic and Development Affairs Council, witnessed at the Elyse Palace here today, the signing ceremony of a number of bilateral accords between the kingdom and France in the presence of the two countries delegations. The accords are as follows:
First: Intent Letter on AREVA company embarking on a feasible study of launching 2 nuclear reactors, in the Kingdom.
Second: An executive accord of cooperation in the health-related domains.
Third: A Technical Cooperation Accord in the industrial field, including cooperation in promoting industrial exports, increasing bilateral trade volume, exchange of commercial and industrial and experiences related to industrial policies and creativity to contribute in backing up and raising the competitiveness of small and medium-size and start-up firms.
Fourth: Signing of a contract to provide the Saudi Border Guards with 23 Helicopters from Airbus at the cost of $470 million.
Fifth: An Investment Contract between the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the French Exports’ Credit Company (COFACE), stipulating that the fund will, accordingly, finance some operations that meet the company’s applicable conditions of credit.
Sixth: A Memo of Understanding between the Saudi Arabian Airlines and Airbus, related to hastening the delivery of 50 Airbus planes including 20 regional Airbus-330 planes to make the Saudi Airlines as the first operator, in the world, to use this model, in domestic as well as regional flights’ service, and 30 Airbus- 320, the most sold aircraft, in the world, in order to consolidate Saudi Airlines capabilities, to best serve local aviation.
Seventh: Scientific Cooperation Agreement between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and the French National Center for Applied Research.
Eighth: Investment Memorandum of Understanding between the kingdom and the French Govt., which includes Saudi Investments Fund and other Saudi financial institutions investing in private ownership companies, in France.
Ninth – A Memorandum of Understanding, in the domain of radioactive waste management between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and the French Institute for Protection against Radioactive and Nuclear Safety.
Tenth: A Memorandum of Cooperation between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and the French Agency for Nuclear Waste Management, in the field of developing the organization of peaceful use of nuclear energy, in the field of nuclear waste.
The ceremony was attended by Minister of Economy and Planning Eng. Adel bin Mohammed Faqih, Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Taufiq bin Fozan Al-Rabia’ah, Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Adel bin Zaid Al-Toraifi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet Khalid bin Abdulrahman Al-Isa, Minister of Health Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Chief of the General Intelligence Khalid bin Ali Al-Himaidan and a number of other senior Saudi and French officials.
Foreign Minister: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, French President are Keen to Enhance Bilateral Relations between the Two Countries
Paris, Ramadan 7, 1436, Jun 24, 2015, SPA — Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Foreign Minister, stressed keenness of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and French President Francois Hollande on enhancing bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of France in all fields, including the political, security, military, economic and education fields and other fields.
Al-Jubeir added that mechanism for coordination and consultation is established, including Joint Committee between the two countries co-chaired by the two foreign ministers and under supervision of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense where the Saudi side has followed the work of this Committee carefully in addition to carry out achievements quickly.
This came in a press conference held here today between Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Foreign Minister, and French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius.
‘About ten agreements between the two countries will be signed today. These agreements have been discussed and finalized in a short period of less than six weeks,’ Al-Jubeir said, looking forward to more agreements and understanding between the two countries in all fields.
He confirmed that there should be coordination and consultation between the two countries to find solutions for the political issues, including the situation in the region and challenges facing the region and how to deal with them in the interest of the two countries.
‘There should be coordination and consultation between the two countries in the fields of economy, trade, investment, technology, armament, defense and military cooperation,’ he added.
Al-Jubeir reiterated the keenness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to get the best technology in the world in all fields in the service of its people and economy, pointing out that the Kingdom and France have a long history in the field of armament.
The Foreign Minister confirmed that all agreements between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of France were signed between the two governments directly without any third party and without any mediator to ensure that the Kingdom is to get the best technology with best price.
‘We look forward to meet with French President Francois Hollande and to sign these agreements. We look forward to continue discussions of aspects and ways of cooperation between the two countries and how to intensify and strengthen these relations. Despite that the Saudi-French relations are very strong, historical and strategic and there are transparency and continuous consultation and coordination between the two countries, we seek to develop these relations in order to be more durable and solid,’ Al-Jubeir added.
He expressed his gratitude to the French Foreign Minister to host the first meeting of this committee, looking forward to host the committee in the Kingdom Saudi Arabia.
Al-Jubeir also thanked the Deputy Crown Prince on his support of the committee’s activities and works.
For his part, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a speech that the French Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will sign today several agreements in various fields, including the finance of an investment fund between the two countries.
‘We also seek to expand the base of energy investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially the nuclear energy, where we presented a feasibility study for the construction of two nuclear reactors in the Kingdom. We will sign a nuclear agreement for the development of nuclear energy and another agreement on handling and disposing nuclear waste,’ Fabius said.
The French Foreign Minister also said ‘There are contracts to develop Navy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which are an essential part of the industrial and military relations between the two countries.’
Responding to a question regarding the results of the visit paid by the Deputy Crown Prince to Moscow, Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said ‘We are meeting and consulting with our allies about the region’s issues; and we are coordinating our stances towards these issues. The Deputy Crown Prince’s visit to Russia was a bilateral visit where we discussed means of enhancing bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia. It was also an opportunity to consult with the Russian side on issues of interest in the region, including Syria, Iran’s negative acts in the region, the situation in Yemen and other issues.’
Regarding Geneva negotiations on Yemen, Al-Jubeir said ‘It might be better to consider the negotiations as a first step where there would be additional steps that can be taken. The solution for Yemen is clear and should be based on the GCC initiative, the outputs of Yemen national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolution No. 2216. The Geneva meeting was a first step that proved that Houthis were not serious about reaching a peaceful solution with the Yemeni legitimate government.’
Regarding the aid provided for the Lebanese army, Al-Jubeir said that there is an agreement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France in respect of arming the Lebanese army with an amount of $3 billion. The agreement is valid and payments will be scheduled.
Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Hails Signing of Agreements between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France as One of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Government Fruits
Paris, Ramadan 8, 1436, Jun 25, 2015, SPA — The Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Adel bin Zaid Altoraifi of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has emphasized that the agreements signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of France in the presence of President Francois Hollande of the French Republic; Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs are one of the fruits of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ government that benefit the two countries.
In an interview with Al-Ekhbariya TV channel, he said that the agreements concerned with the promotion of investment and strengthening the economy and leading to significant revenues to be achieved during the next short period of time, stressing that this visit and the mutual agreements enjoy the interest and attention of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and they are embodied by the presence of Political and Security Development Council, which was able to achieve the country’s stability and save it from the evils while the Council of Economic Affairs and Development has adopted decisions enhancing the national economy.
The Minister of Culture and Information of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also pointed out that this visit, which comes under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and culminated in the conclusion of ’10’ agreements reflects the distinguished relations between the two countries signed following the meeting of the Saudi-French Permanent Coordinating Committee headed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, stressing that the agreements will transfer France from a strong ally of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a combined strategic partner in various regional, economic and investment files.
Deputy Crown Prince Meets with French Minister of Defense
Paris, Ramadan 8, 1436, Jun 25, 2015, SPA — Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, met here today with France’s Minister of Defense Jean-Yves le Drian.
During the meeting, they discussed means of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of defense and reviewed a number of issues of common interest.
The meeting was attended by a number of officials.
36th Saudi-French Business Council Kicked off
Paris, Ramadan 7, 1436, Jun 24, 2015, SPA — Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, stressed that the visit made by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, to the Republic of France came within framework of distinguished and friendly relations between the two countries.
He pointed out that this visit was preceded by a number of official visits between the two countries, including Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to France in September, 2014, and French President Francois Hollande’s visit to the Kingdom in December, 2014. During these visits, a number of agreements between the businessmen of the two countries were signed in addition to the recent visit made by the French President to the Kingdom in May, 2015.
This came in the 36th meeting of the Saudi-French Business Council held today in Paris.
Al-Rabiah stressed importance of cooperation between the two countries to promote trade exchange between the two countries and to find an active environment encouraging the private sector in both countries to seize available investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and France in order to support the economies of both countries in all fields.
Al-Rabiah stressed that France is the important trading partner for the Kingdom, highlighting that France occupies eighth place among the top ten countries the Kingdom imported from them in 2014.
‘In 2014, the trade exchange between the two countries exceeded 12 billion euros. The French investments in the Kingdom reached 14 billion euros in a number of industrial and service activities where the Saudi investments in France reached about 700 million euros,’ he added.
‘The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoyed a good industrial base in several fields, including petrochemical, food, fertilizers, iron, cement and others. These industries reached various countries around the world in light of the big potentials of exporting to France and other European countries,’ the Minister of Commerce and Industry added.
He said that the Kingdom works since a long time to attract foreign investments in various industrial and service sectors, including energy, petrochemicals, health, water desalination, financial services, and other sectors through providing good facilities in this regard in addition to substantial modifications to support its national economy.
Ministry of Commerce and Industry Announces Holding of Saudi-French Business Opportunity Forum in Riyadh
Paris, Ramadan 7, 1436, Jun 24, 2015, SPA — The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced the holding of the Saudi-French Business Opportunity Forum on Oct. 2015 in Riyadh.
The 1st forum was held on April 2013 in Paris and was attended by 1000 participants form the two sides, including large companies and government officials from both sides.
On the other hand, the Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Taufiq bin Fozan Al-Rabia’ah, in the context of the visit of the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, to the Republic of France, signed a cooperation program in the industrial domain with the French Ministry of Economy and Industry.
The program included cooperation in promoting industrial exports, increasing of bilateral trade volume and information exchange.
French Foreign Minister: Deputy Crown Prince’s visit to France will achieve great success
Paris, Ramadan 07, 1436, June 24, 2015, SPA — Foreign Minister of the Republic of France Laurent Fabius hailed relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France as distinguished, stressing that the two countries have a desire to strengthen ties at all levels.
In a statement to Al-Ekhbariah news channel on Tuesday, the French Foreign Minister expressed confidence that the visit of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, to the Republic of France will achieve great success.
He said that the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France are very excellent ‘as we decided together to make them ideal and at the highest level, and this desire to strengthen relations is being translated by such visits which are made at the highest levels, and through continued contact,’ expressing confidence that the visit will achieve great success.
He added that he went to the Middle East to meet with the Egyptian president, the Jordanian monarch, the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Prime Minister, ‘on the basis of our analysis that progress in the Israeli-Palestinian issue must be made; that justice should be done for the Palestinians; and that just peace should be realized and this is a common position between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France.’
Read more about this topic:
Saudi-French Consultations, Agreements in Photos – SUSRIS – Jun 25, 2015
Crown Prince Salman Wraps up France Visit – SUSRIS – Sep 4, 2014
Saudi-French Ties Elevated by Crown Prince Salman Paris Visit – SUSRIS – Sep 3, 2014
New Era in Saudi-Russian Relations – SUSRIS – Jun 22, 2015
Here Come the French (Hollande Riyadh Visit) – SUSRIS – Dec 31, 2013
French President Hollande tackles Middle Eastern crises on Saudi visit – Khaleej Times – Dec 30, 2013
Hollande meets Crown Prince Salman at end of Saudi visit – Al Arabiya – Dec 30, 2013
Francois Hollande visits Saudi Arabia – France in the United Kingdom – Dec 29, 2013
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere – Washington Post – Dec 29, 2013
Hollande: Assad must go – Arab News – Dec 30, 2013
France tries to supplant US as Saudi Arabia’s arms supplier – Mohammed Ballout – Al Monitor – Dec 27, 2013
France ready to be KSA’s strategic partner in nuke, renewable energy – Saudi Gazette – Oct 3, 2013
Le Drian: KSA, France have unified position on Syria – Arab News – Oct 8, 2013
Abdullah, Hollande discuss regional issues – Saudi Gazette – Dec 30, 2013
Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs Amidst Economic Challenges in the Middle East – Jeffrey D. Feltman – House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia Testimony – May 9, 2012