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324 words - August 21, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
On the occasion of Bastille Day on July 14, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has sent a cable to French President François Hollande, commending the "distinguished relations between (the) two friendly countries and their peoples, stressing keenness on enhancing these relations in all fields."
Saudi Arabia and France have "very similar positions" on a number of foreign policy issues, "with the same objective of achieving stability (in Syria) and combating terrorism (in the Sahel)," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius after he met with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayef on May 29. Despite a common "determination to strengthen" the bilateral strategic partnership and a "broad convergence of views," particularly on Syria where the two countries are among the most active supporters of the Syrian opposition within the "Friends of Syria" group, France and Saudi Arabia clearly disagree on the ongoing events in Egypt.
France has denounced the "repression" by the Egyptian authorities while Saudi Arabia has voiced its support. On August 18, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal "came to discuss with the friends in France the current situation in Egypt with the aim of unifying the views on what is happening in it based on facts and not hypotheses," said Saudi official communiqué. The Prince told President Hollande his country's "astonishment at international positions," including France's regarding Egypt. "What is happening in Egypt is nothing but terrorism," the Prince emphasized.
Mr. Hollande reiterated France's "concern" and agreed Europe and Arab countries share a "common responsibility" towards ending the violence though, President Hollande specified, France is unwilling to "participate in any interference in Egypt's political life." The French leader however invited the Egyptian authorities to hold an election so that the Egyptian people can express its views. In addition, Mr. Hollande said, France and Saudi Arabia can help for such a process towards elections to resume.
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