French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for a “rapid end to the institutional political vacuum in Lebanon”, the Elysee said on Friday.
Lebanese lawmakers on Wednesday failed for a 12th time to elect a new president, as bitter divisions between the Iran-backed Hezbollah and its opponents risk miring the country in a protracted power vacuum.
The prolonged absence of a president “remains the major obstacle to resolving the country’s severe socio-economic crisis”, the French presidency said after the meeting between the two men in Paris.
Macron and the de facto leader of the oil-rich kingdom “also reiterated their shared commitment to security and stability in the Near and Middle East and expressed their desire to pursue their joint efforts to bring about a lasting easing of tensions”.
The two intend to “develop and deepen the partnership between the two countries”.
France is prepared “to support Saudi Arabia in strengthening its defence capabilities” and Macron stressed “the willingness of French companies to continue to support Saudi Arabia in implementing its ambitious Vision 2030″, the kingdom’s economic and social reform agenda.
MBS’s stay in France appears set to be a long one, with the crown prince due to attend a Paris summit on a New Global Financing Pact hosted by Macron on June 22-23.