France's Hollande discusses Syria, Iran in Saudi

Monday November 5 2012

PHOTO | BERTRAND LANGLOIS French President Francois Hollande speaks during a press conference at the airport in Jeddah, on November 4, 2012.

PHOTO | BERTRAND LANGLOIS French President Francois Hollande speaks during a press conference at the airport in Jeddah, on November 4, 2012. Hollande is visiting Saudi Arabia before attending an Asia-Europe summit in Laos to talk trade at a time of economic crisis. AFP

By AFP

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia

French President Francois Hollande discussed Iran and the situation in unrest-hit Syria with Saudi King Abdullah in the city of Jeddah on Sunday on his first visit to the oil-rich kingdom, a spokesman said.

"The president discussed with King Abdullah the peace process in the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear programme, the Syrian crisis, as well as cooperation between both countries," Romain Nadal told AFP after a two-hour meeting between the leaders.

Saudi Arabia's official news agency SPA also reported they discussed "developments on the Palestinian issue and the current situation in Syria" in addition to bilateral relations.

Hollande's stop in Jeddah, where he met the king for the first time since he took office in May, comes after a brief visit to Beirut during which he pledged to protect Lebanon against threats of destabilisation caused by the deadly conflict in neighbouring Syria.

"This visit to Saudi Arabia is primarily political," Hollande had told reporters aboard the aircraft taking him from Beirut to the Red Sea city.

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