France and Saudi Arabia enjoy close and confident relationship

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


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”