Paris (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday hosted Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, yet to return home following heart surgery in Paris, for unscheduled talks notably on the Middle East, royal sources said.
Macron received the king just prior to welcoming visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Elysee Palace as part of the latter’s ongoing official visit.
The French leader’s talks with King Mohammed were not in his official diary.
According to a Moroccan official statement, Macron and the king “discussed at length the situation in the Middle East as well as regional and international issues,” noting a “widespread convergence of views on the subject.”
Monday had seen the Saudi heir hold a surprise meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri, as well as Morocco’s monarch.
Hariri tweeted a picture of the trio smiling and dressed casually accompanied by a caption of “no comment.”
The meeting appeared designed 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.
“The three of them are friends and our countries are very much aligned so it made a lot of sense to do this,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told AFP.
King Mohammed had heart surgery in Paris on February 26 for an irregular heart beat but Moroccan sources said at the time he would soon resume “normal activities without any restriction.”
Prior to appearing with Macron and the Saudi heir Mohammed’s absence had sparked wild rumours on social media with some web posts suggesting the monarch, who succeeded his father Hassan II in 1999, had died.
Morocco’s 360 website had in mid-March commented that the monarch, who regularly visits France, was in good form and spending “every waking hour” attending to matters of state.
Macron has met with the king several times, most recently at the One Planet Summit in Paris.