Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit will be marked by his attendance at two major events and a private meeting with President Emmanuel Macron

Saudi prince on his way to France to attend world summit

PHOTO/FILE - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans multi-country trip

As announced this morning by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) "in accordance with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, (..) Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz (..) left today, Wednesday, for the French Republic on an official visit".  

During his official visit, the Saudi prince will meet privately with French President Emmanuel Macron, with whom he intends to improve bilateral diplomatic relations. Mohammed bin Salman will also lead the Saudi Arabian delegation to the summit for "A New Global Financial Compact" to be held in France on 22-23 June, which has been primarily promoted by French President Macron to discuss and adopt a new framework for global financial cooperation.  

Another stop on this visit will be the official reception organised by the Kingdom to support Riyadh's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. Riyadh's candidacy is somewhat controversial, especially for humanitarian associations, which have already urged the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to exclude Riyadh from the competition due to its lack of respect for human rights and its legality of torture and the death penalty. However, many states in the international community, such as Morocco and the Dominican Republic, have supported this request. The Alawi kingdom was one of the first to back the decision due to the constant and mutual support between the two kingdoms because of the cultural and historical ties that unite them. Likewise, the Caribbean country supports the candidacy because of the "opportunity it represents to strengthen ties of collaboration and investment".  

AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE - El príncipe heredero de Arabia Saudí, Mohamed bin Salman
AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE - Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman

For the host country, Expo 2030 is the perfect scenario to promote its key strategic axes for its economic development. Saudi Arabia wants to showcase itself as one of the world leaders and showcase its capacity and trillion-dollar investment opportunities thanks to its Vision 2030 Plan, which seeks to diversify the economy, so that it does not depend exclusively on oil, and to increase it. Riyadh is planning the world fair from 1 October 2030 to 1 April 2031 under the theme "The Era of Change: Taking the Planet to a Foresightful Tomorrow". However, of all the countries that have put themselves forward as potential hosts, the winner is between Rome (Italy), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Busan (South Korea).   

The Saudi leader's attendance at the finance summit convened by Macron highlights the intention to foster collaboration with other states on international issues, marking the relevance of the Arab countries in the region in the geopolitical strategic landscape and which are positioning themselves above some European countries.