Macron is counting on the Saudi crown prince to "mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine" |  DW |  29.07.2022

Macron is counting on the Saudi crown prince to “mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine” | DW | 29.07.2022

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have agreed to work “to mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine,” the French presidency said Friday (July 29, 2022), after talks seen as a diplomatic re-qualification of the Saudi prince.

Like US President Joe Biden who visited Riyadh earlier this month, Macron was eager to get an increase in oil production from the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia that the West had until recently shunned.

The French statement did not refer to any agreement, but said the two men agreed to “intensify their cooperation to mitigate the effects of (the war) in Europe, the Middle East and the world.”

The French President received the Crown Prince of the Kingdom on Thursday evening at a working dinner at the Elysee Palace, during which Macron stressed “the importance of continuing the coordination that began with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the context of diversifying energy sources in European countries,” according to the statement.

For his part, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday thanked the French president for the “hospitality” he accorded him during the talks, which angered human rights organizations.

“Dinner to Rehabilitate” ..

Thursday’s dinner was the latest initiative to rehabilitate Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler after the 36-year-old prince became an outcast in the West following the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Western leaders are courting the emir at a time when they are urgently looking for new sources of energy to replace dwindling Russian supplies.

During the dinner, Macron asked Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help Europe get rid of oil and gas from Russia, Bloomberg News Agency reported today.

..and gas is on the table for discussion

A statement published by Macron’s office emphasized the coordination between the two countries, and said that Macron “stressed the importance of continuing coordination with Saudi Arabia to diversify the sources of energy supplies for European countries.”

European countries, since Russia launched Ukraine on February 24, have been searching for alternatives to oil and gas from Russia, and Macron has communicated with leaders of oil-producing countries to contribute to this. Over the phone.

An official in Macron’s office said before the meeting that the president planned to raise his expectations about the results of an upcoming meeting with oil-exporting countries (OPEC) and recommended the group increase oil production to help lower prices, but he does not expect any announcement, or commitments immediately.

While critics angered the fist salute between Biden and bin Salman, Macron shook hands with him on the stairs of the Elysee Palace and patted his hand. “He shook the long hand of a man with blood on it,” prominent leftist lawmaker Alexis Corbier told BFM television on Friday.

But the French president’s allies defended a widely circulated meeting as the embodiment of “realpolitik” – which means putting practical needs above principles in foreign policy.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia is among the few countries in the world with the ability to increase its oil production, although it has limited room for maneuver.

“There are partners, countries that do not all share the same democratic values ​​of France,” Public Services Minister Stanislas Guerini, a close ally of Macron, told Europe 1 radio on Friday. “But I think it would be a mistake not to speak up and not to try to move things forward,” he added.

He said that the president’s role is “to protect the French people (…) French values ​​and the voice of France and human rights were carried by the president last night as usual.” Amnesty International chief Agnes Callamard told AFP that the visit “deeply concerned her”.

A.H./A.A.A.M. (AFP, DBA)

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