President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday, the final day of his Gulf tour, sparked an uproar back home in France.
Macron is the first European leader to visit Jeddah and meet the crown prince, who is suspected of being responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Visuals of the meeting: a smiling Macron greeting and shaking hands with MBS in the royal palace in Jeddah, sparked controversy.
Human rights organizations claimed the meeting was the way of "rehabilitating" the crown prince said to be diplomatically abandoned by world leaders since Khashoggi’s killing in 2018.
Antoine Madelin, director of advocacy at the International Federation for Human Rights, told FranceInfo news that the meeting was “shocking” in nature as France was playing a direct role in “rehabilitating” the crown prince’s tarnished image.