The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is being criticized by human rights groups over the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, to the European country.
In the first visit of the Crown Prince to Europe since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a crime that took place in 2018 in Turkey and which, according to the CIA, would have been approved by MBS, he was received at Paris-Orly airport by the Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, and then went to the Élysée Palace to have dinner with the French president. The day before, he had been received in Greece.
French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne claimed that Macron would talk to the prince about human rights, but mainly about an increase in Saudi oil production in a scenario of energy insecurity caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, told Agence France-Presse that she was “deeply disturbed by the visit, because of what she means to our world and what it means to Jamal and people like him.”
Bénédicte Jeannerod, head of Human Rights Watch in France, wrote on Twitter that MBS could “apparently count on Emmanuel Macron to rehabilitate him on the international stage, despite the atrocious murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the ruthless crackdown on all criticism of Saudi authorities and war crimes in Yemen.”
Last week, the US President Joe Biden visited MBS in Arabia Saudi Arabia, after saying during the 2020 campaign that he would treat the country as a “pariah” due to the murder of the journalist inside the Arab country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Biden, who was accused of “treason” over the decision to make the visit, claimed he confronted the crown prince over Khashoggi’s death. The Saudi would have replied that he was “not personally responsible” for the assassination, to which the American president would have added that “that he thought he was”.