Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Iran hurls 'support for terrorism' charge back at rival Saudi Arabia

Iran hurls 'support for terrorism' charge back at rival Saudi Arabia

Speaking at a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the end of a three-day visit to Paris, the Crown Prince said, "If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present".

France's president has said he agrees with Saudi Arabia on the need to curb Iranian "expansionism" in the Middle East.

This sequence - as well as Macron's planned trip to Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-regional rival - is thought to have come up during a first round of talks between Macron and his Saudi visitor on Sunday night.

Backed by high-power lobbying and public relations firms, the prince is seeking to rebrand Saudi Arabia as a modernist oasis instead of an austere kingdom known for exporting jihadist ideology and subjugating women.

"I can not think of a better partner for culture and art than France", Saudi Culture Minister Awwad Alawwad told AFP.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, will wrap up the visit with a gala dinner at the Elysee Palace and formal discussions with Macron on Tuesday evening that are expected to cover the war in Syria.

"The leadership of both countries share much in common".

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Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is in Paris, also attended.

"The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly", it added, saying the OPCW's director general Ahmet Uzumcu wants the team "to establish facts surrounding these allegations."The White House on Tuesday abruptly announced the cancellation of US President Donald Trump's first trip to Latin America, scheduled for later this week, saying he wants to "oversee the American response to Syria".

Spain and Saudi Arabia's royal families are very close as King Felipe VI's father Juan Carlos was a close friend of the kingdom's late King Fahd, who reigned from 1982 to 2005, and is close to his brother King Salman.

Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" for France, one of the world's biggest arms exporters, to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a YouGov poll.

"Since the start of the conflict in Yemen, France has adopted a very specific process whereby all sales of military equipment are analysed on a case-by-case basis and on the basis of reinforced criteria that reflect respect for worldwide humanitarian law and the risk of harm to civilian populations", Macron said.

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