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January 08, 2014
Summit between Saudi Arabia and France: Introduction to Riyadh to diversify its international relations

The King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz and other senior leaders of the kingdom received 29 and December 30 in Riyadh, French President François Hollande.

They discussed the burning issues, including the various conflicts in the Middle East, from Syria to Lebanon passing through Iran. They also discussed ways to develop relations and mutual exchanges  which reached almost eight billion euros in 2013.

The one who observes the dimensions of this visit notices that there is , in Saudi Arabia , some kind of change in terms of its international alliances so that the diversity in relationships of the economy through arms and political agreements is the most important  subject  for Ryad .

After Saudi Arabia relied the most on the US, it began today to open the path to cooperation and coordination with other international powers according to interests of the kingdom and to serve the aspirations and projects development to provide stability and security and maintain its leading position on the regional and international levels.

Washington was the first ally that began to lose its position following her policy in regard to the Iranian nuclear issue and the situation in Syria, the U.S. administration was supposed not to ignore the importance of its alliance with the kingdom and take into consideration its own interests, she is  secretly negotiating with Tehran and sought an agreement behind the scenes with Russia for a regulation on the Syrian track, the power of success then this remains unclear.

Maybe that's what brought out Ryad  from its quiet diplomacy and  it criticized Washington in public, the fact that it  refused to be a permanent member in the Security Council is deliberately to show that the vital interests of  washington  in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to be affected or crossed  because the Kingdom is not a state of the United States, but a sovereign and independent country.

According to the latest developments, you can find out the difference between Riyadh and Washington regarding the Syrian, Iranian, Egyptian and Lebanese question and the degree of agreement of this file with Paris,   thus this visit was to strengthen Hollande bilateral relations as  his perspectives  were expressed  likewise:

"We are with Saudi Arabia to support the moderate opposition and we are working to reach a stage of transition . And around Geneva 2, we will be there for these purposes. We will not help for the extension to Bashar al-Assad and we do not accept the use of chemical weapons in Syria again, this is our position and the position of France, which helped to put an end to this situation, we want to end this terrible and terrifying situation in Syria to establish security of the region and neighboring countries. "

When it comes to Iran, Hollande stated that the Iranian nuclear issue should remain calm: "We are totally against the proliferation of nuclear weapons," he added. "We do not want Iran to make statements therefore, we call Iran to comply with the terms of the agreement, there won’t be any lifting of   sanctions, unless we made ??sure that Iran does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons. "

We also have the same position on the integrity, unity of Lebanon, which we now know how the balance can be fragile due to the flow of refugees.  We should be aware that a third of the Lebanese population is now of Syrian origin, given the number of displaced. From this, we want to strengthen the Lebanese and wish from them to remain united and gathered in this period. We also wanted to support Lebanon, this will be our part in the international group  which was formed.

On this issue, Riyadh and Paris agreed to provide the Lebanese army with military equipment by a value of three billion dollars in the order by which the Lebanese army could extend its power in order  to maintain security and stability in the country, the Kingdom has said that it is a gift for the Lebanese people.

As for Egypt, Holland said: We support the transitional period in Egypt, and we look forward to stability.
It was natural that economic issues will be discussed when the French side seeks to cooperate with France in the pharmaceutical industry, nuclear energy, research and cultural exchanges between universities.

Regarding military relations between the two countries, Holland said that "France has a large permanent partnership  and joint military cooperation with Saudi Arabia (....),  defense cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not  against anyone but aims to enhance stability in the region. "

Hollande said that Saudi Arabia has become the first customer of France in the Middle East", as the value of compromise between the two exceeded eight billion Euros in 2013, three billion French exports although the deficit in the trade balance is due to oil imports from Saudi Arabia.

Trade relations between the two countries registered "good results in 2013 with the construction contract which awarded Alstom to create a subway in Riyadh while France will equip the Saudi National Guard and ordered three French companies for the renewal of the fleet in Saudi Arabia. The French presidency "hope shining horizons" in this area next year.