The Head of State, back from Africa, and Mohammed Ben Salman will dine together at the Élysée.
This is his first visit to Europe since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and he passed through France. Mohammed Ben Salman had dinner Thursday July 28 with Emmanuel Macron, which provoked the anger of human rights defenders.
This meeting signed a little “rehabilitationof the Saudi Crown Prince, less than two weeks after the visit of US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia, which definitively consecrates the return of “MBS” on the international scene, in the context of the war in Ukraine and the rise in energy prices .
Mohammed Ben Salman, who started his mini-European tour in Greece, is expected Wednesday afternoon at Paris Orly airport, where the Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire will welcome him, informed a government source . His arrival, however, was not confirmed Thursday morning. Traveling to Africa, where he will return on Thursday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron will receive MBS a few hours later for “working dinner“Scheduled for 8:30 pm at the Élysée, the French presidency said in a press release.
leader de facto in the kingdom, Mohammed Bin Salman was rejected by Western countries, after the murder in 2018 of the critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate of his country in Istanbul. “Macron has already done most of the rehabilitation work by visiting MBS himselfin Riyadh last December, observed Quentin de Pimodan, an expert on the Sunni kingdom at the Research Institute for European and American Studies, who was interviewed by AFP. And to prove:Macron began and Biden completed rehabilitation, with Johnson in the meantime“, the future former British Prime Minister who also visited Riyadh in March.
American intelligence services point to the responsibility of Mohammed Ben Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, poisoning the relationship between Riyadh and Washington.
If the “fist bump“, fist to fist, exchanged between the two men in Jeddah during the visit of Joe Biden sealed the return of the American president to his campaign promise to treat the kingdom of “pariah», MBS’s first visit to the European Union did not go well with human rights defenders. “The visit of MBS to France and Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia does not change the fact that MBS is nothing but a murderer“Mourning the AFP Agnès Callamard, who led an investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi when he was a UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.
And the French director of Human Rights Watch, Bénédicte Jeannerod, mentioned on Twitter “MBS apparently can count on Emmanuel Macron to rehabilitate him on the international stage despite the horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi authorities’ ruthless suppression of any criticism, war crimes in Yemen“. His return to the favor of Western heads of state was “even more surprising because many of them at that time expressed their anger (at the killing) and their commitment not to return MBS to the international community“, he added, criticizing”Two weights, two measures“.
Since less than four years after the Khashoggi case, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 caused panic in energy prices. Western countries are trying to convince Saudi Arabia, the main exporter of crude oil, to open the floodgates to ease markets and limit inflation.
But Ryad fended off pressure from its allies, citing its commitments to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), the oil alliance with which it leads Moscow. In May, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said the kingdom had done what it could for the oil market.