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

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

Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

Updated 55 min 48 sec ago

Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

  • Finance representatives of 150 government bodies meet for the Budget Forum 2020

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.