25 June 2016
RIYADH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet French President Francois Hollande and several top politicians and businesspeople in France on a visit to the country starting Monday.
The French Embassy in Riyadh announced that Prince Mohammed would hold talks with Hollande at the Élysée Palace and later with Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault, and Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Odrian, according to reports on Friday.
On Tuesday, Prince Mohammed will co-host the third Saudi-French joint committee with Ayrault.
The talks would focus on Saudi-French relations including the Kingdom’s plans under Vision 2030 and its operational measures, the National Transformation Program 2020, which sets five-year targets for the tripling of non-oil revenue and other measures.
Prince Mohammed is expected to meet with CEOs of various companies, which would seek mutual investments in defense, energy, health, agriculture, transport, infrastructure, culture, sports, research, media, environment, housing, and tourism and heritage.
According to reports, France’s ties with Saudi Arabia have grown under Hollande, while Riyadh has been building alliances beyond its traditional defense partner the United States to counter Iran.
Prince Mohammed’s visit to France serves “to underline and deepen the excellence of the global French-Saudi strategic partnership,” an embassy statement said.
The prince made his first official visit to Paris in June last year.
French-Saudi trade reached 7 billion euros in 2015, with the Kingdom the world number one exporter of oil to France. France is the third largest foreign investor in the Kingdom totaling $15 billion. During the two first meetings of the committee, the two nations signed deals worth over $20 billion.