PARIS (May. 17)
France and Saudi Arabia have decided upon a policy of close political and economic cooperation as a result of King Faisal’s visit to France, French official circles said here today. This cooperation, the circles said, will include joint consultations in international affairs, French arms sales to the oil-rich kingdom and a multitude of public works to be undertaken by French companies. Elysee Palace spokesman Denis Baudeouin said that President Georges Pompidou “considers the King’s trip to Paris an exceptional event, especially warm and friendly.”
The King, who is due to leave tomorrow, has spent five days in France during which he held three political consultations with Pompidou. He also met with Premier Pierre Messmer and the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Robert Galley and Michel Jobert. The two chiefs of state are due to release a joint communique tomorrow shortly before the King’s departure.
Among the concrete decisions taken during Faisal’s visit were the sale of French made Mirage jets, helicopters, missiles and tanks to the Saudi Arabian forces which are reportedly beefing up their hardware as a result of the Saudi-Iranian crisis. Galley is due to visit Saudi Arabia next fall to negotiate the actual sale contracts, while Saudi military missions are to visit France this summer to inspect and test the French arms. Diplomatic observers here believe that the Franco-Saudi agreement will affect France’s overall relations with the Arab world.