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Mohammed bin Salman in France: Saudi Arabia would support military operation in Syria

Macron: France would co-organise a conference for Yemen with Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2018

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concluded his first official trip to France with a joint conference with Macron discussing Iran, Yemen and Syria.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wrapped up his first official visit to France with a joint news conference with the French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, expressing concern over the worsening conflicts in Yemen, Iran and Syria.

France would decide in coming days on "a strong and joint response" with the US and the UK to the suspected use of poison gas that killed over 40 civilians in Douma said Macron.

The crown prince added during the conference that Saudi Arabia would support a military operation in Syria.

"If required by our alliance with our partners, we will be there," he said.

Macron also announced that France would co-organise a conference on humanitarian aid for Yemen with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in March 2015 after the group overran much of Yemen.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition joined the Yemen war in 2015, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

Human rights groups have accused Saudi Arabia of targeting civilians with airstrikes. Yemeni rebels have launched ballistic missiles at the kingdom.

"We will not tolerate ballistic missiles activities that threaten Saudi Arabia," Macron said. "Yet we are attached to the respect of international law and especially humanitarian law in Yemen."

A lawyer representing a Yemeni human rights group filed a lawsuit in a French court against de facto Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman yesterday. The lawsuit claims that bin Salman, who also serves as defence minister, knowingly targeted civilians.

Activists have mobilised to keep attention focused on French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and rights abuses in the kingdom during Salman’s visit.

Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" for France, the world's third largest arms exporters, to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a YouGov poll.

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