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In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 and RFI, French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing it as “very serious” and calling for “the whole truth” to emerge. Macron also welcomed the appointment of Rwanda’s foreign minister as the new head of the International Organisation of Francophonie group of French-speaking nations.
French President Emmanuel Macron granted an exclusive interview to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman and RFI’s Christophe Boisbouvier on the sidelines of the Francophonie Summit in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The French president began by welcoming the appointment of Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as the new head of the group of French-speaking nations. Despite Mushikiwabo’s appointment causing some controversy, Macron insisted that “Rwanda is making a real political transition”.
Macron also reacted for the first time to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul 10 days ago. Calling Khashoggi’s disappearance “very serious”, Macron called for “the whole truth and clarity” to be established. The French leader added that he would discuss the issue with the Saudi and Turkish leaders “in the coming days”.
Pressed on France’s trade ties with Saudi Arabia, Macron rejected the idea that Paris is beholden to Riyadh for business deals. “Politics prevails over economic interests,” the French leader said, insisting “it is wrong to say that Saudi Arabia is a major client of France in any area”. Macron added that France “is not part of suppliers to Saudi Arabia in the conflict in Yemen”.
Macron also reacted to a recently foiled bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France, which Paris has blamed on Iran’s intelligence services. Asked if he had changed his mind on Iran, the French president insisted he has “never been naïve”. However, Macron added, “it is not efficient to leave the  nuclear agreement and there is a risk of the region flaring up”.
Finally, the French president refused to give a precise date for a delayed cabinet reshuffle in France, saying he wanted to do things “methodically, at the right pace”.
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