France, Saudi agree on need to curb Iranian 'expansionism'
PARIS - President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that France agreed with Saudi Arabia on the need to curb Iranian "expansionism" in the Middle East, while also announcing a conference to boost humanitarian support for Yemen, where Riyadh is waging a bombing campaign.
Speaking alongside Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a press conference as the de facto Saudi leader wrapped up a three-day official visit, Macron called for "greater efforts to limit Iran's ballistic activity and regional expansionism".
"This strategic vision means reducing all the projects of expansionist political Islam which could feed other forms of terrorism and destabilise the region," Macron said of Riyadh's regional rival.
On Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has led an international military coalition since 2015 and waged a blockade that has sparked widespread condemnation, Macron stressed the need for "respect for international humanitarian law".
"We will continue to be extremely vigilant on this point," he said, while adding: "It is obvious that we will not tolerate any ballistic activity that threatens Saudi Arabia."
After a trip which has seen France and Saudi sign up for major cultural exchanges as well as discussions of war in the Middle East, companies from both countries signed draft deals worth a total $18 billion (14.5 billion euros).
The memoranda of understanding cover sectors including petrochemicals, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities, the French-Saudi business forum said in a statement.