Mediator Macron to dine with Saudi crown prince, Lebanese prime minister

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman visits Apple

Saudi Arabia has signed a deal with the Paris Opera

Saudi Arabia's crown prince was set for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday at the end of a three-day trip that has seen the two men discuss war and crisis in the Middle East as well as sources of friction between themselves.

Lebanon was plunged into crisis last November when Hariri resigned as prime minister while he was in Saudi Arabia, saying he feared assassination and criticising the Saudis' regional arch-rival Iran along with its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

A coalition of NGOs urged Spain not to sign off on a planned sale of warships to Saudi Arabia during an upcoming visit to Madrid by the kingdom's crown prince, reports said on Wednesday.

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

Bin Salman, who was defense minister when Saudi Arabia launched the war in Yemen, allegedly provided the means and instructions for these crimes of torture to be committed, the lawyer said.

Pressure has been mounting on Macron to scale back arms support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which are leading the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa.

Macron and the Saudi heir had already dined for almost three hours Sunday at the Louvre museum, with the young French leader later tweeting photos of them in front of Eugene Delacroix's "Liberty Leading The People". Delacroix's work was inspired by the 1830 July Revolution that saw protestors overthrow the inept French royal king Charles X.

A French lawyer representing the Legal Center for Rights and Development filed the suit against the crown prince, now in France on an official visit, for his leading role in the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The kingdom also revealed Monday that it would enter short films at the Cannes cinema festival for the first time and send an official delegation to the celebration of often edgy and subversive silver-screen art on the Riviera this May.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco earlier announced deals with major French companies including Total, Technip and Suez.

Saudi Arabia was France's second-biggest client for both arms deliveries and new arms orders in 2016, according to official data.

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