Terrorism tops Saudi agenda on Paris visit

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and global terrorism will top the agenda when Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz begins an official two-day visit to France on Wednesday.

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and global terrorism will top the agenda when Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz begins an official two-day visit to France on Wednesday.

Abdullah will meet with French President Jacques Chirac late Wednesday before a state dinner. On Thursday, the two will hold a working lunch, and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin will host a dinner for the crown prince.

The meetings will cover "international and regional issues, especially the situation in Lebanon, the Middle East and Iraq, as well as the Iranian dossier and terrorism," said French foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

The two days of talks will also address the "political, civilian, military and economic" aspects of Franco-Saudi bilateral relations, Mattei said.

"We would like to strengthen our cooperation in all of these areas, at a time when the kingdom is launching a process of economic and social reform," the spokesman noted.

On the Middle East, Mattei said Paris supported a Saudi initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace adopted at the Arab League summit in 2001, which was rejected by the Jewish state.

The proposal offered Israel normalisation of its relations with Arab states in exchange for its complete withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories. It also called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

After his visit to France, Abdullah will head to the United States for talks with US President George W. Bush at his Texas ranch, and then on to Canada.

In an interview published Tuesday, Abdullah told France's Le Monde newspaper that his country would combat terrorism for as long as necessary.

"Terrorists are enemies of Islam, humanity and mankind. We will wage war against them for 10, 20, 30 years if necessary, whether they are Muslims or not," he said.

"We began by asking them to come back to reason, wisdom and dialogue. In vain. They continued their actions. From that point on, violence must be fought with violence," Abdullah told Le Monde.

But the Saudi crown prince added that the fight against terrorism must also include the choking off of terrorist financing via a crackdown on money laundering, the drug trade and the black market.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article