Saudi king snubs France over 'leak'

July 13, 2010 - 0:0

The Saudi Monarch has indefinitely postponed a trip to France amid speculation that the cancelation is over his aggressive comments on Iran and Israel.

On Sunday, the French foreign ministry said that Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal will meet with French counterpart Bernard Kouchner later in the week.
The announcement comes two days after the Saudi Embassy in Paris said King Abdullah had postponed his trip, with the French media suggesting the decision was over an article that appeared on the website of Le Figaro newspaper on June 30.
The article claimed the Saudi monarch had expressed deep hatred toward Iran -- a rising Shia power in the Middle East -- as well as his country's archenemy, Israel, during a meeting in Jeddah with French Defense Minister Hervé Morin on June 5.
“There are two countries in the world that do not deserve to exist: Iran and Israel,” the article cited French military and diplomatic sources as quoting King Abdullah.
On Thursday, the French Ministry of Defense neither confirmed nor denied the remarks.
However, Le Monde reported on Friday that the report had caused a “furor” among Saudi officials.
In his Le Figaro blog, veteran investigative journalist, Georges Malbrunot, dismisses the official argument that the monarch was angered by receiving an 'unwise' invitation to attend the July 14 celebrations marking the fall of monarchy in France.
Malbrunot said the monarch's stance toward France had changed drastically, despite the king's 'grateful' behavior towards Paris over the 'swift delivery of military gear in operations against Shia Houthis in Yemen.'
(Source: Press TV)
Photo: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (L) and French President Nicholas Sarkozy on June 27, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)