Saudi Arabia and France have agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure reforms and establish a mechanism to provide humanitarian assistance, according to a joint statement.
A joint statement was issued on Saturday's visit of the French President Emmanuel Macron to the Kingdom.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman received the French President at Al-Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah, where they held official talks reviewing the historical and strategic relations between the two countries in all domains and stressed the importance of strengthening joint action and elevate their bilateral relations to further constructive cooperation based on trust and mutual interests, taking the strategic partnership between the two countries to new and promising horizons.
The two sides praised the positive and fruitful results that have been achieved since the visit paid by Crown Prince to France in 2018, which contributed to expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
Economically, the two sides welcomed the strength of the economic relations between the two countries and agreed on the importance of strengthening economic partnership, enhancing private sector participation, exchanging expertise, developing human capabilities and utilizing opportunities offered by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and France's 2030 economic plan in various sectors of joint interest.
The two sides also stressed the importance of following up the implementation of the balanced economic partnership through mutual investments between the private sector in the two countries.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the increased cooperation of French companies in sectors within the Kingdom's Vision 2030, including energy, water, and waste management, sustainable cities, transportation, civil aviation, mobility solutions, digital economy and health. France also desires to attract Saudi investments in the public and private sectors, namely the new technologies, emerging companies and future industry.
Moreover, the two sides commended the signing of different contracts and agreements in all economic fields, during the meetings that took place on the sidelines of the visit between both sides' businessmen, thus renewing the deep private sector partnership in the two countries.
The Kingdom and France also reiterated their commitment to preserving the environment and biodiversity as the French President expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom's initiatives and efforts in the field of environment and climate change.
Concerning the energy sector and its various fields, the two sides stressed the sound relations that unite the two countries in the energy fields, which are reflected in various projects including petroleum refining, petrochemical production, electricity sector and renewable energy, especially in the areas of project development, security of stations and electrical grids as well as service reliability and exchange of expertise in electrical interconnection.
The two sides agreed to enhance their cooperation in the production of nuclear energy in a peaceful and safe framework, the management of radioactive waste and the nuclear applications, nuclear control and the development of human capabilities within the framework of the government agreement signed in 2011.
On the climate change, the two sides stressed the importance of adhering to the principles of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement, and the need to develop and implement climate agreements with a focus on emissions without sources through the adoption of a circular carbon economy approach as an integrated and comprehensive framework to address global warming emissions.
The French President praised the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative, too. The two sides stressed the importance of cooperation to realize these initiatives.
Also, the two countries stressed the importance of joint cooperation to study opportunities to develop clean hydrogen production in the Kingdom, in addition to its various uses to participate in the transformation of economies to economies free of greenhouse gas emissions, and the transformation of energy at the global level.
The two sides reviewed their efforts to combat COVID-19 and the success achieved by the two countries in addressing this pandemic, as they expressed their ongoing efforts to support the least developed and developing countries facing economic, health and social repercussions as a result of the pandemic.
In the field of culture, the two sides highlighted the historical-cultural ties between the two countries, which over the past six decades witnessed continuous cooperation in various fields and stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation, especially the development of museums, the film industry and heritage.
The two sides welcomed the existing fruitful cooperation for the sustainable development of Al-Ula, within the framework of the government agreement signed in April 2018, and praised the signing of new agreements through which France contributes to supporting the cultural and tourism development of this potentially-rich region.
They also stressed the importance of hiking the pace of cooperation in tourism and working to launch initiatives to develop the tourism sector, explore the tourism potentials of each country, enhance communication between the citizens of the two countries and provide necessary ways to achieve this.
Regarding education, the two sides welcomed the expansion of cooperation between universities, technical colleges, and think tanks and research centers in the two countries, and the increase of cooperation between them in scientific research, development, and innovation through concrete measures and structural projects for scientific disciplines that keep pace with future aspirations.
In this context, the two sides welcomed the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding in several fields including culture, tourism, digital technology and space, in addition to the agreement to establish the French Cultural Center (Villa Al-Hajar) in AlUla.
Concerning defense and security, the two sides stressed the importance and necessity of continuous evaluation of common threats to the interests of both countries and the regional security and stability, praising the historic defense partnership that brings them together and agreed to strengthen dialogue to deepen the strategic rapprochement between them.
On the regional and international issues, the two sides emphasized strengthening and consolidating joint cooperation and coordinating stances on issues of common interest to achieve peace and security in the Middle East in particular and the world in general and to confront policies and interferences that destabilize regional and international security and stability. They also praised the importance of Baghdad Summit, which was held in August 2021, to enhance stability in Iraq and encourage regional dialogue.
The two sides also reiterated their determination to make more joint unremitting efforts to confront various forms and manifestations of terrorism and extremism locally, regionally, and globally and to counter their financing. They agreed to enhance technical and operational cooperation in combating terrorism and organized crime.
The two sides reiterated their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and Arab Peace Initiative in a way that ensures the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on 1967 borders with East Al-Quads (Jerusalem) as its capital, calling, in this context, for an end to the Israeli settlement policy that threatens the two-state solution.
The two sides expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency. France stressed its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. They also agreed on the need to confront Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles that led to attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On Yemeni file, the two sides stressed the importance of supporting all efforts, including the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis based on the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue and relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216. France affirmed its full support for the Saudi peace initiative that was presented on March 22, 2021 and condemned the ballistic missiles and drones attacks launched by Houthi militia and affirmed its historical commitment to preserving the security of the Kingdom.
On Lebanon, the two sides stressed the need for the Lebanese government to carry out comprehensive reforms, especially adherence to Taif Agreement that entrusted national unity and civil peace in Lebanon, and that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, combating corruption and border control. The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures.
They also emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate institutions of the state, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug trafficking.
They also stressed the importance of strengthening the role of the Lebanese army in maintaining Lebanon's security and stability, and agreed to continue joint consultations on all these issues, They also agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance that ensures complete transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly countries and allies to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.
They also stressed the importance of maintaining Lebanon's stability and respecting its sovereignty and unity in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions (1559), (1701), and (1680) and relevant international covenants.
Regarding Iraq, the two sides expressed their support for the Iraqi government's efforts to eliminate terrorism, preserve Iraq's security and stability as well as its territorial integrity, and the importance of stopping foreign interference in Iraq's internal affairs, hoping that a new government will be formed soon. They also praised the elections that were held on October 10, 2021.
On the Syrian issue, the two sides stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with Geneva Declaration (1) and UN Security Council Resolution No. (2254) to end the human suffering of the Syrian people, preserve Syria's unity and territorial integrity, and support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria.
Regarding the Libyan issue, the two sides stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis per international legitimacy resolutions and in a manner that achieves security and stability in the region.
The French side welcomed the Kingdom's initiative to hold an extraordinary meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and contribute to providing the appropriate humanitarian response.
At the conclusion of the visit, the French President expressed his deep appreciation to the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the warm reception and hospitality being accorded to him and the accompanying delegation.