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Emmanuel Macron accused of trying to `rehabilitate' Mohammed bin Salman
Human rights groups have criticised Emmanuel Macron's planned meeting with Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, which will mark the first one-on-one public meeting of a major western leader with the crown prince since the state-sponsored assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

For three years since the 2018 murder, western heads of state have avoided direct one-on-one meetings with the crown prince in the kingdom. The US president, Joe Biden, has even avoided speaking to the future king in what has widely been seen as an attempt to avoid conferring legitimacy on the de facto ruler.

But Macron's move suggests at least one major western leader is ready to formally re-establish ties to the crown prince directly, less than a year after US intelligence agencies released a report stating they believed that Prince Mohammed had approved the murder of Khashoggi.

"Whatever strategic interest France has in Saudi Arabia, nothing can justify their legitimisation of a ruler who kills journalists, threatens activists, imprisons women human rights defenders, slaughters Yemeni civilians, and deceives the international community. Macron diminishes himself and his own country as he stoops to partnership with MBS," said Agnès Callamard, a French national who serves as Amnesty International's secretary general.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 at 09:07:26 PM EST
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