Emmanuel Macron dined with Saudi crown prince, Jamal Khashoggi’s boyfriend “furious”

Call it geopolemics. President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Thursday night with a long handshake Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was invited for a working dinner at the Elysée Palace in Paris, despite the protests of human rights defenders.

Emmanuel Macron warmly welcomed his host dressed in traditional Saudi attire, and this is the first visit to Europe since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey less than four years ago, according to images broadcast by AFP TV.

American intelligence services pointed the responsibility to the crown prince, who denied ordering the killing although he admitted to bearing responsibility for it as a leader. This meeting is a further sign of the “rehabilitation” of the de facto leader of the kingdom, less than two weeks after the visit of US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia, which consecrated the return of the crown prince, nicknamed MBS, on the international scene, in the context of the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices.

Complaint against MBS

In response to the anger of human rights defenders, the French presidency said Thursday that Emmanuel Macron will answer “the question of human rights as he does every time with Mohammed bin Salman”. “He will answer (this question) in general but he will take the opportunity to discuss individual cases”.

The Elysée confirmed that this dinner was necessary, due to the rise in energy prices, the food crisis in the Middle East and the concerns linked to the Iranian nuclear program. “If we want to face each other, to solve the consequences of these crises on the one hand and balance the region for the benefit of all, the only way is to talk to all the main actors “, explained the presidency.

On Thursday, a complaint for complicity in torture and enforced disappearance in connection with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was filed in Paris against the crown prince, announced the NGO Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), founded by the Saudi journalist . , and the Swiss NGO Trial International.

Khashoggi’s fiancee “scandalized” to receive an “executioner”

Hatice Cengiz, the bride of Khashoggi, said that she was “scandalized and angry that Emmanuel Macron received with all the honors of the executioner of my fiance”, in a message in French addressed to AFP.

“The visit of MBS to France and Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia does not change the fact that MBS is nothing but a murderer,” said Agnès Callamard, who led the investigation into the murder of Saudi agents by Jamal Khashoggi in when he was special to the UN. rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.

Columnist of Washington post, a critic of Saudi power, the journalist was killed and dismembered on October 2, 2018 in the area of ​​the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when he went to collect the papers needed for his marriage. Praised for his reforms, “MBS” has nevertheless been criticized for the repression carried out against dissidents in religious, political, intellectual, economic circles and even within the royal family. His image as a reformer was tarnished around the world by the killing of Khashoggi.

“shame”

If the “fist bump”, fist to fist, exchanged between the two men in Jeddah during Biden’s visit sealed the American president’s return to his campaign promise to treat the kingdom as a “pariah”, MBS’s first trip within the European Union is not good among human rights defenders.

For Saudi activist Lina al-Hathloul, communications director of the human rights organization ALQST, this visit is “a blow to Saudi activists”.

Lina al-Hathloul is the sister of feminist Loujain al-Hathloul, an icon for the protection of women’s rights in the Saudi kingdom, who was imprisoned for almost three years before being granted parole in February 2021. Instead of supporting the victims of systematic human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, Macron prefers to rehabilitate a crown prince whose abuses have been widely condemned by the international community,” he told AFP.

Less than four years after the Khashoggi case, Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine sent energy prices into a panic. Western countries have since tried to convince Saudi Arabia, the main exporter of crude oil, to increase its production to calm the markets and limit inflation.

Many left-wing political figures in France criticized this visit. “Not in the Elysée Palace but in a police station that MBS should be welcomed in France”, thundered the deputy of the ecologist Aurélien Taché, who thinks that this visit has thrown “shame” on Emmanuel Macron.

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