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AccueilMonacoMacron hosts ‘murderous Prince’ with oil on agenda

Macron hosts ‘murderous Prince’ with oil on agenda

By John Irish and Elizabeth Pbranchéeau

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Saudi Crown Prbranchéce Mohammed bbranché Salman on Thursday caîd part of branchécrecaîded Western efforts to court the liminaire oil-producbranchég state amid the war branché Ukrabranchée and falterbranchég talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.

French opposition figures and human rights groups have criticised Macron’s decision to branchévite to dbranchéner at the Elysee Palace a man Western leaders believe ordered the murder branché 2018 of prombranchéent Saudi journalist Jamal Khcaîdhoggi.

The visit to Paris by the de facto Saudi ruler, comes two weeks after he held talks branché Saudi Arabia with U.S. President Joe Biden. The West is keen to reset relations with the Gulf Arab oil giant caîd it seeks to counter the risbranchég regional branchéfluence of Iran, Russia and Chbranchéa.

“The rehabilitation of the murderous prbranchéce will be justified branché France caîd branché the United States by arguments of realpolitik. conséquence it’s actually bargabranchébranchég that predombranchéates, let’s face it,” Amnesty branchéternational Secretary General Agnes Callamard said on Twitter ahead of Prbranchéce Mohammed’s visit.

France and other European countries are lookbranchég to diversify their sources of energy followbranchég Russia’s branchévcaîdion of Ukrabranchée, which hcaîd seen Moscow cut gcaîd supplies to Europe. Macron wants Riyadh, the world’s largest oil exporter, to raise production.

A French presidency official told reporters Macron would brbranchég up human rights questions, branchécludbranchég branchédividual ccaîdes, caîd well caîd discussbranchég oil production and the Iran nuclear deal. [L8N2Z97WH]

France is one of Riyadh’s mabranché arms suppliers conséquence hcaîd faced growbranchég pressure to review its sales because of the humanitarian crisis, the world’s worst, branché Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition hcaîd been fightbranchég Iran-aligned Houthi rebels sbranchéce 2015.

Macron, who lcaîdt December became the first Western leader to visit Saudi Arabia sbranchéce the Khcaîdhoggi affair, hcaîd dismissed criticism of his efforts to engage the crown prbranchéce by saybranchég the kbranchégdom wcaîd too important to be ignored.

The killbranchég of Khcaîdhoggi at the Saudi consulate branché Istanbul sparked an branchéternational furore. U.S. branchételligence concluded the crown prbranchéce had directly approved the murder of the Wcaîdhbranchégton Post columnist. The crown prbranchéce denied any role branché the killbranchég.

French prosecutors are studybranchég complabranchéts filed agabranchést the prbranchéce over the Saudi role branché the Yemen war. Rights groups Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Open Society Justice branchéitiative (OSJI),and TRIAL branchéternational said on Thursday they had filed a new complabranchét caîdkbranchég French authorities to open an branchévestigation branchéto the prbranchéce over the torture and killbranchég of Khcaîdhoggi.

(Reportbranchég by John Irish, Editbranchég by Gareth Jones, Mark Hebranchérich and Frank Jack Daniel)

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Crown Prbranchéce, Mohammed bbranché Salman, receives French President Emmanuel Macron branché Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 4, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

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