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Saudi Crown Prince in Paris to discuss arms for Lebanon, jihadist threat

BEIRUT |, with agencies - September 02, 2014, 10h23
Photo credit: Presidence de la Republique francaise
Saudi Arabia's crown prince arrived in Paris on Monday to meet with President Francois Hollande to discuss the Saudi-financed French package of arms for Lebanon and the wider jihadist threat in the region.
Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, will meet Hollande on Monday and will be treated to an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace.

The two sides are also likely to endorse accords during the crown prince’s three-day visit, according to Arab News.

As Beirut faces the threat of jihadists on its border with Syria, the two are likely to touch on a $3-billion package of French military equipment and arms for Lebanon's army that Riyadh has agreed to finance, news agencies stated.

Salman will also meet Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday for talks over the situation in Iraq and Syria, where jihadists have seized swathes of territory and are terrorizing Christians and other minorities.

On Thursday, Hollande rejected any cooperation with Bashar al Assad whom he accused of being a "de-facto ally" of Islamic State militants, after the Syrian leader's regime said it was willing to work with the international community to tackle the jihadists.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned the West would be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is "rapid" action.

"If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month," he said in remarks on Asharq al-Awsat daily and Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya TV.

Salman’s visit also comes two weeks after Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd fell victim to a brazen heist on the Paris ring road. According to France 24, eight gunmen in two vehicles forced the Saudi embassy’s motorcade to pull over to the side of the road in northern Paris while it was headed to the Bourget airport at around 9pm local time. The heavily armed gang hijacked the lead vehicle of his 10-car convoy and stole at least 250,000 euros and documents. No information was released about the kind of documents that were stolen. However, they were believed to be “sensitive.”

#France, #Saudi_Arabia, #Lebanon, #Weapons, #Lebanese_army
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