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French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday arrived in Saudi Arabia and met its powerful heir apparent in the first official visit by a senior Western leader to the oil-rich monarchy since the 2018 .
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday received Macron at a royal palace in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
They reviewed ties between the two countries, “partnership fields” and developments in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported without details. The visit is part of a Gulf trip that already took Macron to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
On Friday, Macron defended his trip to Saudi Arabia and talks with its crown prince amid criticism of the move. But Macron said that Saudi Arabia, the most populous and important Gulf state, was a necessary partner for helping crisis-hit Lebanon or ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East.
“This does not mean that I approve or forget or that we are not demanding partners,” Macron added.
Last year, Saudi Arabia hosted an online G20 summit amid concerns over the global pandemic.
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