Saudi prince thanks Macron for 'warm reception' in Paris

macron mbs bin salman
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace shows French President Emmanuel Macron welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris on July 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
PARIS — Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his "warm reception" during talks in Paris that have outraged rights groups.اضافة اعلان

"As I leave your friendly country, it gives me great pleasure to express to your Excellency my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to me and the accompanying delegation," bin Salman wrote in a message posted by the Saudi foreign ministry.

The dinner on Thursday evening was the latest step in the diplomatic rehabilitation of the de-facto leader of the Saudi kingdom.

The 36-year-old became a pariah in the West following the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Macron's office made no official statement on the talks overnight, which were expected to focus on securing extra oil and gas supplies from the Middle East's biggest producer.

The prince is being courted by Western leaders again as they urgently seek fresh sources of fossil fuels to replace lost Russian production.

US President Joe Biden traveled to Riyadh earlier this month, drawing similar criticism to that faced by Macron at home.

While Biden fist-bumped bin Salman in a gesture seized on by critics, Macron shook hands on the steps of the Elysee Palace as he welcomed the prince.

"He's shaking the hand for a long time of man whose hands are covered in blood," senior leftwing MP Alexis Corbiere told BFM television on Friday.

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