Sunday, April 08, 2018

The King in Waiting

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in France after visits to the United States and Britain that saw the 32-year-old heir to the throne meet with high-profile business and political leaders and cut business deals. It is an attempt to present an image of himself as a modernizer in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Mohammed bin Salman's tour is designed to introduce him to key constituencies in the international community as the King-in-waiting of Saudi Arabia," said Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Ulrichsen said that he expects "Macron will try to ensure that French companies are not cut out of Vision 2030 after the apparent success of the US visit in drumming up investor interest in the Saudi reforms."

Ahead of Prince Mohammed's visit, a lawmaker from Macron's party and 15 other co-signatories called for a parliamentary investigation into the legality of French arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. 75 percent of French people want Macron to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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