France has stressed its support for the Saudi peace initiative in Yemen, and condemned Houthi militia attacks on Saudi territories, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry following a meeting between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan met over the past two days with a number of French officials, including the adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron, Ambassador Emmanuel Bonne, and French senators.
The French President is expected to visit Saudi Arabia in October, according to well-informed French sources.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that the two parties were seeking to boost their relations in various economic and investment fields, and work on giant projects in Saudi Arabia and France.
Discussions during Prince Faisal’s meetings in Paris also touched on enhancing cooperation in the educational and health sectors and the fields of innovation and technology, as well as exchanging expertise and combating Covid-19 and its variants.
The Iranian nuclear program prevailed over talks on regional affairs. In its statement, the French Foreign Ministry said that Le Drian underlined the need for Tehran to return to the nuclear negotiations, but reaffirmed “France’s commitment to regional security and stability and its determination to respond to issues of concern to France and Saudi Arabia.”
On Yemen, the French minister was keen to stress the “firm condemnation of the attacks carried out by the Houthis against Saudi territories,” and the need to stop hostilities, “proceed with a full and comprehensive political solution, and support the peace initiative presented by Saudi Arabia in March.”
The two sides discussed the situation in Lebanon, as Paris is preparing to hold a virtual conference on Aug. 4, a year after the port explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital, in order to provide humanitarian support to the people who are suffering from deteriorating crises.
Paris is seeking to guarantee the widest participation in order to maximize international support. France had hosted two similar conferences last year, and the French Ministry of Defense organized a meeting in mid-June to provide support to the Lebanese army.
The French Foreign Ministry said that Le Drian emphasized the “urgent” need for Lebanese officials to form a new government “capable of carrying out reforms.”