Saudi Arabia to set up orchestra, opera with France's assistance

Howard TerryApr 11, 2018

The criticism on behalf of Taha Hussein Mohamed, director of the Approved Coronary heart for Rights and Progress (LCRD), acknowledged the prince who's Saudi Arabia's defence minister was answerable for assaults that hit civilians in Yemen.

"France is potentially an accomplice to serious violations of humanitarian laws by selling weapons and military equipment to Saudi Arabia, given what we know is taking place in Yemen", said Aurelie Perrier, coordinator for Yemen and Saudi Arabia at Amnesty International France. The kingdom has also loosened rules on foreign investments.

The case was filed in a Paris courtroom docket as stress grows on President Emmanuel Macron to curb arms product sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which spearhead a coalition stopping Iran-aligned Houthi rebels who administration most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa.

Macron hosted a gala send-off dinner for the crown prince at the presidential Elysee palace.

When asked about civilian casualties, the crown prince said the coalition was doing everything to avoid civilian casualties in Yemen, but that mistakes were inevitable in conflicts.

Lebanon was plunged into crisis last November when Hariri resigned as prime minister while he was in Saudi Arabia, saying he feared assassination and criticising the Saudis' regional arch-rival Iran along with its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

The meeting appeared created to send a message of reconciliation after Hariri was allegedly pressured to resign by the Saudi royal during a trip to Riyadh last November, causing a crisis which Macron helped defuse.

The realpolitik of change

Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.

Other projects agreed as part of the raft of deals will see France help Saudi Arabia set up a national orchestra and opera.

A picture on Macron's Twitter feed showed the two men contemplating Delacroix' most famous painting, Liberty Leading The People, a bare-breasted woman standing over revolutionary barricades holding a French tricolour flag.

US President Donald Trump on Monday promised quick, forceful action in response to the attack, appearing to suggest a potential military response.

Saudi Arabia also revealed that it would enter short films at the Cannes cinema festival for the first time and send an official delegation to the celebration of often edgy and subversive silver-screen art on the Riviera next month.

The flurry of announcements by the French president came as campaigners mobilised to keep attention focused on French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and rights abuses in the country.

"Between now and the summer a joint conference will be held on Yemen to clarify what is being done and what needs to be done", he said.

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