Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to France came at a crucial time for both the friendly countries. The visit comes amid huge social, economic and political events taking place around the globe.
The timings of the visit are very important, as Saudi Arabia has recently announced an ambitious development plan to diversify its sources of income. We all know the comprehensive plan as the Saudi Vision 2030, the brainchild of the deputy crown prince.
Following Britain’s decision to exit from the European Union, France has a much greater role to play in Europe. In addition to that France has gained importance in the Middle East after organizing a peace initiative conference to restart peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Both Saudi Arabia and France have always played important roles in the international arena. These two countries have never hesitated in offering their services to the international community. Saudi-French relations go back to many decades and their strong and strategic ties play a crucial role in ensuring security and stability in the region and the entire world.
Official visits and continuous talks between the leaders of the two countries have always been fruitful for both the countries. The recent visit of the deputy crown prince has pushed the bilateral ties to new levels.
Saudi Arabia is France’s major trade partner and with the announcement of the Kingdom’s new National Transformation Program there will be closer cooperation between the two countries and both countries are very committed to ensuring a more secure and stable world. France is known to support just causes and has always extended its assistance to various places around the world when help and aid is needed.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a very busy agenda during his visit to France. He held talks with French President Hollande at the Elysee Palace on Monday focusing on many issues such as trade and investments between the two countries, the volatile security in the Middle East and the Iranian role in the region.
The deputy crown prince also met French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the two leaders discussed ways to increase cooperation between their respective countries. The deputy crown prince’s visit to France indicates our leadership’s enthusiasm and keenness to transform the economy of the Kingdom. All these efforts are part of the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims at diversifying and modernizing the Saudi economy.
These visits are necessary to promote Saudi Arabia and its business interests across the world. The Kingdom has the potential to heavily invest in mineral resources, development of e-commerce and tourism sectors. All these opportunities are very attractive for foreign investors.
During his visit to France, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed several agreements aimed at boosting trade and security ties between the two countries. France is the third biggest investor in the Kingdom. A few years ago the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) gave several French companies new licenses to establish new projects in the Kingdom.
The deputy crown prince was accompanied by a high- profile delegation that gave the visit more importance regarding the various discussions that took place in France.
Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Strengthening Saudi-French Ties reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.