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A joint communique on the occasion of the visit of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, the Deputy Premier and Interior Minister of the Republic of France, was announced here today, as follows:

Given the ties of friendship and close cooperation that bind the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the French Republic, and in response to an invitation of His Excellency the President of the French Republic Mr. Francois Hollande, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, made an official visit to the Republic of France, from 3 to 4 March 2016, corresponding to 24-26 Jummada I, 1437.
During the visit, His Royal Highness met with the President of the Republic Mr. Francois Hollande, the Premier Manuel Valls and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Interior Minister Mr. Bernard Kaznov, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Environment, Energy and Seas Ms. Segolene Royal, and Director General of External Security Mr. Bernard Bajolet, and Director General of the Internal Security Mr. Patrick Mousey and the head of the Arab world Institute, Mr. Jack Lang.
These meetings provided an opportunity to hold formal discussions between the two parties, within the spirit of appreciation and strong friendship between them, which also allowed the review and study of prospects of bilateral cooperation, in all areas and avenues available to consolidate and strengthen the existing strategic partnership between the two countries.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the excellent and strong relations between France and the Kingdom and its development at all levels: political, security, economic, financial, trade and industry, education and culture affairs.
They also expressed desire to develop new areas of bilateral cooperation for the promotion of investments and also reaffirmed their commitment to achieve progress in many bilateral projects, during the 3rd session of the joint Committee to be held in Paris in the month of April, under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development.
The two sides exchanged views on regional issues of mutual interest and discussed possible ways to strengthen international security and stability.
In the spirit of partnership that binding them, in the field of counter-terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment, within the international coalition against Daesh and lauded all efforts to be made in this area, in order to achieve stability in the region, including the formation of anti-terrorist Islamist alliance.
The two sides also expressed willingness to continue and to strengthen bilateral cooperation, which aim at combating causes of extremism, racism and sectarianism, drying up the sources of terrorist financing and the reduction of the phenomenon of violence, in all forms, including the ethnic as well as the religious.
The two sides stressed the importance of reducing violence and extremism through deep action at the political, intellectual, and security levels, and in addition, they discussed latest developments in the Middle East.
With regard to Syria, the two countries stressed the need for a credible political solution, as that is the only way to, permanently, restore peace and to fight terrorism, in full, they also reaffirmed their support for the Supreme Commission of the opposition and stressed the need for sustainable improvement of the situation, in order to allow resumption of negotiations between the Syrian parties, according to Geneva Statement and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
In this regard, they stressed the support for the cessation of hostilities, which came into force on February 27, with an emphasis on their keenness to implement it, reminding that the groups which have been named by the Security Council, are the only excluded parties from the truce.
Finally, the two sides stressed the need for free access of free, unlimited and immediate humanitarian aid, according to international law, to help all Syrians.
The two sides also stressed their full support to the Iraqi government in its efforts to find a lasting political solution to the crisis experienced by Iraq, through the adoption of a national reconciliation program, that includes all components of the Iraqi society.
They reaffirmed support for the Arab coalition, in Yemen, the legitimate authorities in the country as well as the work done by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and expressed their grave concern, at the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
The two sides stressed their support for the unity, security and stability of Lebanon through official institutions, particularly the army.
They stressed the need to elect a president - as soon as possible - who can gather all parties to enable Lebanon to overcome the crisis, that is currently going on.
On the Palestinian issue, the two countries agreed on the need to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Saudi Arabia expressed support for the French initiative to hold an international conference on this issue.
The two sides stressed the importance of stability of the situation in the region, which affects the restoration of security and stability in the world and the Middle East, in particular.
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif expressed thanks and appreciation of the President of the Republic, the Premier, the government and the friendly French people for the warm reception and hospitality, accorded to His Highness and the accompanying delegation, during the visit.

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