France considering strikes on Assad's chemical facilities: Macron

"If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present", Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, wrapping up a three-day visit to Paris.

Saudi Crown Prince Salman and French President Macron had a private dinner in a restaurant in the Louvre museum on Sunday.

Prince Mohammed's visit is part of a global tour that has already seen him travel to the United States, Britain and Egypt as he seeks to project a more moderate vision of his country, typically associated in the West with exporting jihadist ideology. The kingdom has also loosened rules on foreign investments.

Saudi Ambassador to Spain Prince Mansour said that the choice of Spain by the Crown Prince to include in his current visit to the major world powers showed the depth and strength of the bilateral relations that bind the two great nations.

The announcement about the Cannes film festival came after Prince Mohammed dined last week in Hollywood with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, along with film studio bosses and famed American actors including Morgan Freeman.

Much of the prince's visit has also focussed on deepening cultural ties with France, with Saudi officials drawing on the country's expertise to set up a national opera and orchestra.

A Yemeni rights group on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Prince Mohammed in France, accusing him of complicity in torture and inhumane treatment in Yemen, lawyers said.

Seventy-five per cent of French people want Macron to suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a YouGov poll found.

Amnesty International also took out a full-page advertisement in the Liberation newspaper on Monday, featuring the feet of an executed prisoner, urging Macron to talk about human rights with Prince Mohammed.

Macron, 40, France's youngest leader since Napoleon, and the 32-year-old Saudi prince who goes by MBS, met privately earlier Tuesday to discuss defense, security and economic issues.

But the trip follows a period of underlying tensions.

At a press conference with the de-facto leader of Saudi Arabia, an arch-rival of Iran, Macron admitted to differences with Riyadh on the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, but said the two agreed on the need to "limit Iran's ballistic activity and regional expansionism".

  • Rogelio Becker