2006 News Story

French president comments on Saudi-French talks

French President Jacques Chirac said today that his talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz were held in “an atmosphere of understanding and friendship.” Chirac is currently on a three-day official visit to the Kingdom.

In a press conference in Riyadh, Chirac said that the Saudi-French talks focused on Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Chirac said that he opposes imposing sanctions on a Hamas-led Palestinian government, and that Hamas should recognize Israel.

Concerning Lebanon, Chirac said the Saudi and French viewpoints were very similar. He stressed that Syria should cooperate with the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri.

On the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, Chirac said that the international community would not give up trying to convince Tehran to respect its commitments.

Chirac noted France’s interest in enhancing economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia and praised the healthy investment atmosphere in the Kingdom, particularly since its entry into the World Trade Organization. He said that military and cultural cooperation between the two nations would also be increased.

The French president expressed support for King Abdullah’s domestic reforms within the framework of national dialogue and Saudi cultural requirements.