French President Emmanuel Macron is due in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Main subjects between the two men: Lebanon and regional stability.
After his visit to the United Arab Emirates where he signed the largest fighter plane contract in the history of France for 17 billion euros, the French head of state continues his tour in the Gulf this Saturday with a special meeting, that of Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman known as MBS.
Friday, Emmanuel Macron affirmed that it was necessary to speak to Saudi Arabia to “work for the stability of the region” but above all to speak about the Lebanese file, a country dear to France.
“France has a role to play in the region (…) but how can we want to work for the stability of the region, how can we want to deal with Lebanon and deal with so many subjects while ignoring the leading Gulf country in terms of geography and size “Said Mr. Macron, referring to Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh is one of Lebanon’s largest donors, but in recent years the country has seen its influence diminish considerably since the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the grip of Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, over the Lebanese political scene.
Saudi Arabia, which wants to establish its influence in Lebanon, recalled its ambassador and asked the Lebanese ambassador to leave its territory after a blunder committed by the Minister of Information, George Kardahi.
The minister who joined the government in September had given an interview a month earlier in which he criticized Riyadh’s military intervention in Yemen and claimed to support the Houthi rebels.
On Friday, when the Lebanese government did everything to try to resolve the tensions, the minister in question finally made the decision to tender his resignation. A decision which was welcomed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati but also by Emmanuel Macron who expressed his hopes of “being able to re-engage all the Gulf countries in the relationship with Lebanon”.