Family: At the Elysée, the long handful of hands between Emmanuel Macron and Mohammed bin Salmane, at the heart of a controversial meeting

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The Head of State received the Saudi Crown Prince at the Elysée, Thursday evening, While the left opposition and several NGOs denounced this meeting.

  A l'Elysée, la longue poignée de mains entre Emmanuel Macron et Mohammed Ben Salmane, au cœur d'une rencontre controversée © supplied by Franceinfo

It is a reception that created the controversy. President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Thursday July 28 with a long handful Saudi crown prince Mohammed Ben Salmane, invited for a work dinner at the Elysée Palace in Paris. The head of state warmly praised his host, dressed in the traditional Saudi outfit. This is his first visit to Europe since the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi , an act whose American intelligence services consider that the Saudi crown prince is responsible.

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The arrival at the Elysée of Mohammed Ben Salmane, of which it is the first visit to Europe since the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey less than four years ago.

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-Agency France-presse (@Afpfr) July 28, 2022

in its account of the ' Interview of the two leaders on Friday, the Elysée said that, "as part of the dialogue of trust between France and Saudi Arabia, the President of the Republic addressed the issue of human rights in Arabia", Without more details. Before the meeting, the presidency had already assured that the subject would be mentioned by Emmanuel Macron "as he does each time with Mohammed bin Salmane" .

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Video: Macron welcomes a long handful of the Saudi crown prince to the Élysée (France 24)

The press release said that Emmanuel Macron and Mohammed bin Salmane " Reinforcement of exchanges "between their two countries and" agreed to develop and [deepened them ". The Saudi crown prince, for his part, thanked Emmanuel Macron "for [his] warm welcome and [his] hospitality", in a message on Friday.

The widow of Jamal Khashoggi "scandalized"

The meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Mohammed Ben Salmane a little more signs the "rehabilitation" of the kingdom's de facto leader, less than two weeks after the visit of the American president Joe Biden in Saudi Arabia. This meeting devoted the return of the Crown Prince, nicknamed "MBS", on the international scene, in a context of war in Ukraine and the outbreak of energy prices.

This visit provoked The anger of human rights associations . Two NGOs announced that they had complained in France , Thursday morning, for "complicity in torture and forced disappearance" after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul (Turkey). The fiancée of the latter, Hatice Cengiz, said herself "scandalized and outraged that Emmanuel Macron receives with all honors the executioner of my fiancé".

The Elysée says that this dinner was necessary , in view of the surge in energy prices, the food crisis in the Middle East and concerns related to the Iranian nuclear program. "If we want to confront, tackle the consequences of these crises on the one hand and weigh in the region for the benefit of all, the only way is to speak with all the main actors," said the presidency.

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