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Arab fashion week comes to Saudi Arabia

11 April 2018

Asked whether France might consider following Germany's recent decision to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an Elysee source last week said French arms sales were subject to strict case-by-case approval procedures which considered concerns for civilians.

Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he later rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.

The kingdom also revealed on Monday that it will enter short films at next month's Cannes film festival for the first time, a further sign of Prince Mohammed's modernising mission.

Hariri later posted on Twitter a picture of the two men along with Morocco´s King Mohammed VI, but without any comment, and it was unclear what the three leaders discussed.

The photo op appeared created to send a message of reconciliation after Hariri was allegedly pressured to resign by the Saudi prince during a trip to Riyadh last November, causing a crisis which Macron helped defuse.

Two weeks later than initially planned, the Saudi Arabian edition of Arab Fashion Week joins designers from Europe and the Arab world over the course of four days - including the kingdom's own Arwa Banawi, whose The Suitable Woman line is adored by fashionistas across the region, and Mashael Alrajhi, the eponymous gender-inclusive label of a rarely-seen Saudi sheikha.

Macron, 40, is treading a diplomatic tightrope with the prince as he seeks to bolster his ties with the world´s top oil exporter while also managing relations with Iran.

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The report to the Commons defence select committee also warned the United Kingdom has a "limited" missile defence system. And it warned North Korea might pass on its nuclear know how to other rogue states or terror groups.

Prince Mohammed, wrapping up his first official visit to France, said during a joint news conference with the French leader that Saudi Arabia would support a military operation in Syria.

The memorandums of understanding cover sectors including petrochemicals, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities, the French-Saudi business forum said in a statement.

After Paris, he will head to Madrid, before heading home ahead of the next Arab League summit meeting, on April 15 in Riyadh.

Saudi Aramco received the largest share of the value of the deals in an agreement with France's Total for a petrochemical complex in Jubail Industrial City in eastern Saudi Arabia, with an investment of $9 billion. -French operation against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Amid the flurry of announcements in France, campaigners mobilised to keep attention focused on French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and rights abuses in the country.

But the visit follows a period of underlying tensions.

Arab fashion week comes to Saudi Arabia