Saudi ruler and Chirac hold private lunch

15th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 14 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz held private talks with French President Jacques Chirac over lunch on Thursday, the last day of a two-day official visit to Paris.

PARIS, April 14 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz held private talks with French President Jacques Chirac over lunch on Thursday, the last day of a two-day official visit to Paris.

Following the hour-long meeting, Abdullah told journalists that "there are absolutely no disagreements between France and Saudi Arabia, on any matters".

When asked about the political future of Lebanon, the Saudi crown prince said: "Lebanon is a country that is very dear to us. Lebanon and Syria are brother countries, and brother countries must be able to count on each other."

After the February 14 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was close to both Chirac and Saudi leaders, Paris and Riyadh stepped up pressure on Damascus to pull its troops out of Lebanon.

For his part, the French president described his lunch with Abdullah as "perfect, as always, given the traditional, long-standing and very strong friendship between Saudi Arabia and France".

Before they sat down to lunch at the Elysee presidential palace, Chirac and Abdullah toured the Islamic arts section of the Louvre museum.

Abdullah, who was the guest of honour at a state dinner hosted by Chirac on Wednesday, later arrived at Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's Matignon offices for private talks and a dinner.

After his visit to France, Abdullah was to spend several days in Morocco before heading to the United States for talks on April 25 with US President George W. Bush at his Texas ranch, and then on to Canada.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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