Keyword: Saudi Arabia

Why detention of billionaire Saudi prince worries the Élysée

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Prince Al-Waleed's visit to the Élysée in early September 2017. © DR Prince Al-Waleed's visit to the Élysée in early September 2017. © DR

The ultra-wealthy Saudi prince Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the owner of the George-V hotel in Paris, remains in detention in Riyad, one of a number of prominent people in the regime who faces claims of corruption. Prince Al-Waleed is an important figure in France and not just because he owns a prestigious hotel here. The billionaire is a key player in a partnership between the French public sector financial institution the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and a Saudi investment fund. One of his advisers was also a supporter of President Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! party. As Karl Laske reports, this helps explain why the Élysée is keeping a close eye on what happens to the Saudi prince.

The Middle East power battle behind Tunisia-UAE airline spat

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Grounded: Tunis-Carthage International Airport, December 25th. © Reuters Grounded: Tunis-Carthage International Airport, December 25th. © Reuters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) last Friday announced a ban on all women and girls travelling with Tunisian passports to the Gulf state on its national airline Emirates and sister carrier Etihad, citing fears of a terrorist attack. While the ban was lifted after just hours, following outrage in Tunisia and from passengers stranded worldwide, the Tunisian government responded at the weekend with a ban of all UAE flights to and from Tunis. But the events are far from an anecdotal spat, for behind the row is the far deeper conflict of a power battle in the Middle East. Lilia Blaise reports.

The Riyadh riddle and the woes of the Hariri business empire

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A friend in need: Saad Hariri with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elsée Palace on November 18th. © Reuters A friend in need: Saad Hariri with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elsée Palace on November 18th. © Reuters

A degree of mystery continues to surround what appears to have been a forced sojourn of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia last month, to the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Middle East centred on the Saudi kingdom’s rivalry with Iran. French President Emmanuel Macron played what Hariri has called a “historic” role that secured his departure from Riyadh, but the financial difficulties of the Lebanese politician’s extensive business interests may also be part of the complex plot leading up to the November events. Karl Laske reports.

Lebanese PM Hariri to leave Saudi Arabia for France 'very soon'

Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri, whose prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia since announcing his resignation on November 3rd was described as a hostage-taking by the Lebanese president, is expected to fly to France after intense diplomatic negotiations between Paris and Riyadh.

France calls on Saudis to allow Lebanese PM to 'return home freely'

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday said Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri must be 'freely' allowed to leave Saudi Arabia, where he has been staying in mysterious circumstances since announcing from there earlier this month that he was stepping down from his post, so that he can 'clarify his situation in accordance with the Lebanese constitution'.

Saudi Arabia ends funding of French arms for Lebanon

The Saudi financing ended last month over Shia military group Hezbollah's support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its actions inside Lebanon.

France 'quietly' awards honour to visiting Saudi Crown Prince

Two months after Paris condemned Saudi mass executions, Prince Mohammed bin Naif is handed Légion d'honneur by President Hollande. 

Saudi Arabia and France sign deals worth a total 10 billion euros

The contracts involve military, energy, health, food, and aeropsace sectors said office of French PM who is currently on a visit Saudi Arabia.

Saudi royals cause storm by closing off French Riviera beach

The mayor of Vallauris has ordered a halt to 'illegal' fencing-off of a local beach by Saudi staff in preparation for a summer visit by King Salmon.

France, Saudi Arabia discuss 'multi-billion-euro deals'

Deals under discussion during the French president's trip to Riyadh centre on nuclear energy, oil, arms, transportation and naval equipment.

France sends first of weapons deal to Lebanon for fight against Islamic State

Helicopters, warships, combat and transport vehicles and missiles are part of the Saudi-funded French weapons which start arriving on Monday.

How France and the US are being held hostage by Saudi Arabia

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President Hollande at Riyadh in January 2015. President Hollande at Riyadh in January 2015.

Both French president François Hollande and American head of state Barack Obama flew to Riyadh to pay their respects after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on January 23rd. For the French leader it was yet another journey to the Arabian kingdom that he has already twice honoured with state visits. France and the United States - and other Western countries – have stayed close diplomatically to Saudi Arabia, seeing it as a source of oil, a massive market to buy their weapons and a pivotal place to exchange key intelligence. But the flipside of this approach, write Thomas Cantaloube and Pierre Puchot, is that these countries have been trapped into supporting Saudi's own regional political games, while also backing one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Moreover, at a time when France and other nations have made fighting terrorism their international priority, elements in the Saudi kingdom are still suspected of financial links with prominent terror groups.

Hollande joins world leaders in Saudi Arabia for Abdullah tribute

The French president arrived in Ryadh on Saturday and will meet, along with dignitaries from several countries, the late Saudi king's successor.

Saudi crown prince in Paris for talks on Lebanon arms deal

Salman bin Abdul-Aziz and President François Hollande will discuss a Saudi-financed French weapons deal to help counter jihadist threat.

Hollande tackles Middle Eastern crises on Saudi visit

French president and King Abdullah discuss crisis in the Lebanon during an official visit that is also aimed at boosting Franco-Saudi trade ties.