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It is hoped the plan, dubbed "Saudi Vision 2030" will see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia become a "global investment powerhouse", with a bigger focus on the country's other natural resources.

During his U.S. tour, the Crown Prince also had meetings with President Trump and former President Barack Obama.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has begun investigations and opening arguments in the corruption cases of princes, top officials and businessmen who were detained late a year ago, an official told pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat yesterday, as reported by Reuters.

The prince is on tour of the world to seek support for reform in the conservative oil rich country.

"The visit was also aimed at enhancing the Kingdom's arsenal, increasing the trade volume, and discussing further commercial deals between the two friendly countries, creating more jobs for both nations", he said.

"There is little genuine affection for Saudi Arabia across the West", Kristin Diwan, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told AFP.

Ahead of the trip to France, Saudi officials suggested relations were strong between Macron and the crown prince, both young leaders with reformist agendas.

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Macron waded into a regional crisis last November when Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri tendered his resignation on live television from Riyadh.

"There were tensions when MBS reportedly attempted to challenge Macron in his role in the Hariri episode, but later MBS had to back down", said Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi scholar at Yale Law School.

"The relationship could go either way, but it's clear that Prince Mohammed feels more love from Trump than Macron", said a second French diplomat.

The visit comes amid growing pressure on Macron at home from lawmakers and rights groups over France's weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"Today an agreement was signed with the Paris Opera to help Saudi Arabia set up a national orchestra and an opera", French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said after talks with her Saudi counterpart, Awwad Alawwad.

But there are several areas of convergence, including anti-terrorism cooperation as France mourns the latest jihadist rampage in the towns of Carcassonne and Trebes last month where a 25-year-old Islamist killed four people.


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