PARIS — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, arrived here to a warm welcome. He was received at Orly airport by French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal, Saudi Ambassador to France Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Anqari; French Ambassador to the Kingdom Bertrand Besancenot; and a number of senior officials.
National anthems of the two countries were played and the crown prince inspected a guard of honor.
President François Hollande will receive the crown prince on Friday.
Official French sources described the visit as “very important” due to the excellent Saudi-French political, economic and cultural relations and their willingness to hold “further consultations and coordination” regarding all issues in light of the difficult conditions the Middle East is facing.
Relations between the Kingdom and France are gaining special importance especially in the light of the acceleration of international and regional changes that require a forthright and frank exchange of views and coordination of positions between the Kingdom and other friendly countries among which France occupies a distinguished position.
The policies of the two countries under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and President Francois Hollande aim to contribute to the achievement of security, stability and peace in the world in general and in the region in particular.
The two countries have reiterated their full satisfaction over the development of bilateral relations in various political, economic, cultural and defense fields, and identical viewpoints on many common issues. Events and developments in the region have proved the depth of relations between the two countries through continuous consultations between their leaderships to find the best ways to resolve the situations in the region.
France is a major trade partner of the Kingdom and is ranked eighth in 2012 among the top 10 countries exporting to the Kingdom, and it also ranked 15th among the countries importing goods from the Kingdom. The volume of trade exchanges between the two countries doubled to reach more than 10 billion euros in 2014, up by 10 percent compared to the 2013.
France occupies third position among investors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its foreign direct investment equities are valued at $15.3 billion, while the value of Saudi investment in France is valued at 900 million euros. — Agencies