PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Europeans will insist on international experts being part of the investigations into a Saudi journalist’s murder, an Elysee official said on Friday.
In a five-minute exchange on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Macron conveyed “very firm” messages to the prince over the murder of Khashoggi and on the need to find a political solution for the situation in Yemen, the official added.
The Saudi Gazette newspaper posted a video of the meeting online, showing the two speaking in hushed tones with their heads close together, Macron looking the crown prince in the eye and Mohammed bin Salman nodding his head and at times smiling.
In the audio of the conversation, it’s possible to make out the prince saying “Don’t worry,” to which Macron responds: “I am worried”. Later in the one-minute clip posted on Twitter Macron says: “You never listen to me,” and Mohammed bin Salman replies: “I will listen, of course.”
At the end Macron can be heard saying: “I am a man of my word.”
The Elysee said the video showed “a sort of contrast between MbS’s face sporting an embarrassed smile and the (French) president’s face, which was rather stern, and was keen to convey these messages in a very firm manner.”
Overall the exchange appeared cordial, with Macron attempting to get a point across and speaking with his hands in front of him, while MbS nods repeatedly and comes across as somewhat apologetic.
(Reporting by Michel Rose and Luke Baker; editing by John Irish)