Saudi Arabia says consulting allies over Syria response

Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, Saudi Arabia Date 07/07/2008

Al-Hijr Archaeological Site in Saudi Arabia Véronique Dauge UNESCO

A coalition of leading rights organizations have urged Spain, the last stop on the Saudi crown prince's worldwide tour, to scrap its planned sale of warships and weapons to the aggressive regime in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince wrapped up his visit to France yesterday, geared toward shoring up cooperation while addressing the lurking strategic differences between the two countries on a series of crises across the Middle East. The memorandums of understanding cover sectors including petrochemicals, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities, the French-Saudi business forum said in a statement.

Prominent rights groups have also urged French President Macron to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and pressure the regime over its war crimes and human rights abuses.

The kingdom also revealed on Monday that it would enter short films at the Cannes film festival next month for the first time, a further sign of Prince Mohammed's mission to modernise his country.

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The prince, widely known as MBS, is also expected to meet some French ministers, a source close to his delegation told AFP.

Prince Mohammed's visit is part of a global tour that has already seen him travel to the United States, Britain and Egypt as he seeks to project a more moderate vision of his country which is often associated in the West with exporting jihadist ideology.

Macron hosted a gala send-off dinner for the crown prince at the Elysee Palace.

HRH the Crown Prince met with President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defense Florence Parly and Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire.

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"There are consultations underway with a number of countries with regards to what steps to take to deal with this issue", he said.Asked if Saudi Arabia would join any punitive military action against the Syrian regime, Jubeir said: "All I can say is that there are discussions on the options available to deal with this matter".

Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority. Download The for your device.in English and other languages.

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