Macron eyes swaying Saudi's MBS on Ukraine in Paris visit
MBS' visit comes less than a year after his last visit to the Elysee Palace and highlights the warm ties between Paris and Riyadh.
French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to host Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks in Paris on Friday, amid predictions that he will exert strained efforts to push the de-facto leader of the oil-rich kingdom into more full-throated support of Ukraine against Russia.
MBS' visit comes less than a year after his last visit to the Elysee Palace and highlights the warm ties between Paris and Riyadh that have angered rights activists in the wake of the 2018 killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.
Over their lunch at the Elysee Palace from 1115 GMT, Macron is also expected to request MBS' assistance in finding a solution regarding the political stalemate over Lebanon's presidential elections.
The Saudi Crown Prince's stay in France seems to be a long one, with MBS due to participate at a Paris summit on a New Global Financing Pact hosted by Macron on June 22-23.
Additionally, he will also be present at a Saudi official event on Monday in support of Riyadh's bid to host Expo 2030, which Saudi Arabia hopes would receive significant backing from France.
Is Macron's attempt a forlorn hope?
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Russia continue to bolster their ties as the West seeks to isolate Moscow and pressure Saudi Arabia.
It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia and Russia are partners in OPEC+. Additionally, MBS and Russian President Vladimir Putin have constantly highlighted the importance of cooperation within OPEC+ to safeguard the stability of the global oil market.
Throughout the war in Ukraine, Saudi Arabia has taken a circumspect posture, emphasizing the importance of Ukraine's territorial integrity without outright denouncing the war.