On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron will welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of heightened Western efforts to woo the large oil-producing kingdom amid the Ukraine conflict and stalled talks to restart a nuclear deal with Iran.
Macron’s decision to invite a man Western leaders think ordered the murder of prominent Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 to dinner at the Elysee Palace has been criticised by French opposition members and human rights organisations.
The de facto Saudi ruler’s visit to Paris comes two weeks after he met with US President Joe Biden in Saudi Arabia. As it strives to challenge the expanding regional power of Iran, Russia, and China, the West is eager to reestablish relations with the Gulf Arab oil giant.
‘Realpolitik considerations will be used to justify the rehabilitation of the murdering prince in both France and the United States. But, let’s face it, it’s negotiation that takes the lead,’ Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, stated on Twitter ahead of Prince Mohammed’s visit.