France and Saudi Arabia enjoy close and confident relationship

1 / 4
STRONG TIES: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif with French President Francois Hollande during his visit to Paris in March 2016.
2 / 4
SOLIDARITY: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman receives French President Francois Hollande in Riyadh last year.
3 / 4
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with French President Francois Hollande in Paris last month.
4 / 4
Updated 13 July 2016
0

France and Saudi Arabia enjoy close and confident relationship

France opened its first consulate in Jeddah in 1839. Ever since King Faisal and General de Gaulle met in 1967, our bilateral relations have evolved through personal contacts at the highest levels. This tradition remains strong.
French President François Hollande paid four visits to the Kingdom since his election in 2012.
His last official visit in May 2015 was particularly historic as he met Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and he was the guest of honor at the GCC summit.
This visit bolstered a new reinforcement of our strategic partnership with the Kingdom and the GCC countries.

• The relationship between Paris and Riyadh is based on friendship, confidence and mutual interests

France and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed a strong, close and confident relationship, which has known a new impetus during the last years.
Our two friendly countries have increased the pace of their bilateral visits.
Last March, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Naif, deputy premier and interior minister visited France, where he received the Legion of Honor, the highest honor in France whose recipients are designated by the French president.
On June 27 and 28, France was also delighted to host Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister to discuss about development of the bilateral relations in the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.
On the occasion of these two high-rank visits, the crown prince and the deputy crown prince met with French President François Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian with whom they share a common approach and views of the situation in the Middle East (Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and the Middle East peace process).
Moreover, members of the French Parliament and the Shoura Council have strengthened their relations through multiple visits to Riyadh and Paris in the framework of the French-Gulf countries friendship group.
Those meetings and events show the high level of our special bilateral relations which promote mutual strategic interests of our both countries for the benefit of French and Saudi people.

• President Hollande and King Salman have strengthened the French–Saudi global strategic partnership

In May 2015, our two leaders François Hollande and King Salman adopted an ambitious Action Plan to boost our relationship through a win-win approach.
Since then, France and Saudi Arabia have already held two joint committees, co-chaired by Mohamed bin Salman and Jean-Marc Ayrault, minister of French foreign affairs and international development.
The 3rd Saudi-French joint Committee, to be held next fall, will focus on our common determination to strengthen the French-Saudi strategic partnership and deepen our special relationship through the improvement of our trade and the identification of new cooperation prospects within the framework the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 adopted by the Kingdom to implement Saudi Vision 2030.
On this occasion, the French president has commended the economic and social reforms Plan adopted by the Kingdom and confirmed willingness of the French government and private investors to stand with people of Saudi Arabia.
The last joint committee, held last October in Riyadh on the sidelines of the historic 2nd Saudi French Business Forum, was marked by the presence of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who led a delegation of more than 100 French officials.
More than 2,000 participants and 130 French firms attended this major business event which is believed to be the biggest international Business Forum held in Riyadh.
Besides, the French Embassy in Riyadh has organized several business meetings between top leaders of French companies and Saudi economic key players in order to improve Saudi investment in France as well as to foster French businessmen to invest in the Kingdom.
France is convinced that the high French expertise must take part in the new era to be implemented by the National Transformation Program 2020.
France and the Kingdom have built a strong global partnership of excellence in various common interest fields such as Defense, energy, health care, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure, culture, education and sport as well as sciences and technology, information, environment, water, housing, tourism and heritage.
With $15.3 billion of French foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia, France is the 3rd biggest investor in the Kingdom.
More than 80 French subsidiaries have an active presence in Saudi Arabia, and most of the big groups of CAC 40 (Paris Index) are represented in the Kingdom.
They employ about 27.600 people, including 10 000 Saudis, a Saudization rate of 36 percent much higher than the average of the Saudi economy (16 percent).
Twenty-four Saudi companies are located in France (mostly by acquiring existing entities).
They employ 3,200 people directly and achieve a combined turnover of around 350 million euros.

— Bertrand Besancenot, Ambassador of France to Saudi Arabia


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
0

Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.