Saudi crown prince due in Paris for Lebanon talks

15th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

RIYADH, March 15 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is to travel to France on Saturday to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon with French President Jacques Chirac, a Saudi official said Tuesday.

RIYADH, March 15 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is to travel to France on Saturday to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon with French President Jacques Chirac, a Saudi official said Tuesday.

Abdullah will visit Paris before going to Algeria to attend the annual summit of Arab heads of state slated for March 22-23, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Abdullah will discuss developments in the Middle East with Chirac, chiefly in Lebanon, and will commend the "positive" Syrian decision to withdraw its troops from that country, the official said.

France, along with the United States, has spearheaded calls for an end to Syria's three-decade political and military grip on Lebanon, demands which were stepped up following the assassination last month of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, who was close to both Chirac and the Saudi royal family.

His murder in a massive bomb blast in Beirut has been widely blamed on Syria and the Damascus-backed Lebanese government.

Syria has denied involvement, but with no letup in the pressure on Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday gave a commitment to a UN envoy to withdraw his military and intelligence units in accordance with the French- and US-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1559.

Saudi Arabia joined calls for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and a credible investigation into the February 14 murder of Hariri, who made a fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia and held Saudi citizenship.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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