Macron to meet Saudi crown prince MBS amid energy crisis

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PARIS — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday.

The French president and the Saudi prince will meet for a working dinner at the Elysée palace, Macron’s office said, without providing further details on the goal of the visit.

The official trip comes as France and Europe are trying to find alternative energy suppliers amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Macron met with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and announced a diesel supply agreement. At a G7 meeting last month, Macron called for a mechanism to bring down oil prices by asking OPEC countries such as Saudi Arabia to increase production — a solution that didn’t convince other G7 leaders.

The crown prince’s French visit is part of his first trip to Europe since the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — reportedly ordered by Mohammed bin Salman himself. The brutal killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sent shockwaves through the international community and drew global condemnation.

Earlier this week, the crown prince visited Greece, where the two countries signed deals on undersea data cables and discussed possible collaboration in the energy sector. The trip comes less than two weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden met with the crown prince in the Saudi city of Jeddah, greeting him with a fist bump.