A Thursday meeting between French President and Saudi Crown Prince focused mostly on energy. The discussions took place amid negotiations in Paris viewed as a diplomatic attempt to restore the Arabian de-facto ruler.
Before the discussions, the Emmanuel Macron’s advisers had said that the president will ask Riyadh to raise its oil output in order to lower energy prices. United States President made a similar proposal earlier few weeks ago while on a trip to the kingdom.
Paris did not specifically mention gas or oil in its statement. It just stressed the significance of sustaining the existing collaboration with Riyadh as a framework to diversify the sources of energy. Western countries are dealing with the reverberations of the clashes with Russia, as their main supplier of energy, following the Ukraine war.
Russian energy resources are risky for EU members owing to sanctions. Besides, Moscow is no more a trustworthy source as it may use the European reliance to its gas and oil as a privilege. Thus, Europe is frantically looking for fossil fuel replacements.
Of the rare nations in the world that has the ability to raise production is Saudi Arabia. According to the statement by France, the two leaders also talked about food access in light of worries about famines brought on by the lack of Ukrainian grain and decided to try to lessen the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine.
“The President and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia underlined the need to bring an end to this conflict and intensify their cooperation to ease the effects in Europe, the Middle East and the wider world,” Élysée Palace said.
Macron under Fire
The conflict in Yemen was also brought up by the Macron and MBS. The French president voiced his optimism that the cease-fire would last and praised what he claimed were Riyadh’s attempts to achieve a political, international, and comprehensive resolution.
French critics believe that grave humanitarian condition in Yemen is the outcome of long years of offensive by Saudi Arabia. Macron’s appreciation for ending a war Riyadh kicked off itself neglects the reality of the course of events in Yemen.
In the aftermath of the violent killing of Washington Post journalist by a gang of Saudi operatives, Macron’s plan to welcome MBS to dinner at the Élysée Palace has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and the French opposing parties.
An investigation by the UN labeled the murder as “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.” Despite Riyadh’s denial and accusation of rogue agents, US secret services apparently concluded that MBS had “authorized” the plot that resulted in Khashoggi‘s killing.
A Macron adviser tried to justify the reception while vowing to advance human rights. “For the president to have an influence and tackle the problems that European countries and France face … the only way is to talk with all of our partners,” the aide added.
Energy costs skyrocketed when the Kremlin invaded Ukraine five months ago. Western countries began searching the world for resources to substitute the energy coming from Russia.
Amnesty International said that it was profoundly alarmed by the trip for what it meant for the globe as well as for Jamal Khashoggi and those like him. Agnes Callamard also said that Bin Salman is a leader who “does not accept any disagreement.
For Macron, Bin Salman has emerged as a key player for the perplexing world condition following Ukraine War.