French foreign minister in Riyadh for talks

20th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdul Aziz discussed latest developments with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe in Riyadh on Sunday, state news agency SPA reported.

The two officials discussed "the latest regional and international developments and subjects of mutual interest," SPA reported.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and other top officials from both sides, said the statement.

Juppe is on a regional tour which included a stopover on Friday in Turkey, where he said "the time has come to increase sanctions" against the Syrian regime for its deadly crackdown on anti-government protests.

He is to travel on to Qatar and Kuwait.

A French foreign ministry statement said prior to his departure that his trip would "provide an opportunity for consultations on regional issues, including the Syrian crisis and the Arab Spring."

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has come under increasing pressure to implement reforms or step down as more than 3,500 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in his regime's crackdown on protests since March, according to UN figures.

Relations have soured between Syria's Iran-backed regime and Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic's regional arch-foe.

Last week, pro-Assad mobs attacked Riyadh's embassy in Damascus after the Arab League suspended Syria over its failure to honour a deal to end the bloody crackdown.

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Damascus on August 8 and announced the move was in protest over the government's repression of demonstrators.

© 2011 AFP

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