French president arrives in Riyadh for two-day state visit
January 13, 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Riyadh today for a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia, his first as president. The visit is expected to boost relations between Saudi Arabia and France and strengthen bilateral cooperation in a number of areas.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz met President Sarkozy at the airport with a red-carpet welcome. King Abdullah then received the president at the royal palace and hosted a state dinner in his honor.
During the visit, King Abdullah and President Sarkozy will meet for talks about key issues including the nuclear crisis in Iran, Iraq, the political situation in Pakistan, violence in some African countries, the political crisis in Lebanon and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Four memorandums of understanding are due to be signed in the areas of political cooperation, energy, training and rehabilitation. The agreements are also expected to increase the number of Saudi students who go to France for higher studies. In addition, a security deal will be signed that allows Saudi and French armed forces to engage in joint military exercises.
In June 2007, King Abdullah paid an official visit to France for talks with President Sarkozy about bilateral cooperation and issues including Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and counterterrorism. The King also visited France in 2005 while still Crown Prince.