French economy and finance minister delays Gulf trip
Bruno Le Maire has put off until January a visit to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar scheduled for late last month after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi struck a deal to cut OPEC+ production quotas.
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In a bid to attract more foreign capital to France, the government is creating a new ambassadorial position for sovereign wealth funds. The new role would establish a direct channel between Paris and SWFs, especially those from the Arab Gulf states such as PIF, ADIA, QIA and ADQ.
Wanting to be part of the huge projects afoot on the Arabian-Persian Gulf, the French ministry of the economy and finance is working on plans for Bruno Le Maire to visit the region, as much as to capitalise on its close ties with the United Arab Emirates as to further French business interests in Saudi Arabia.
Despite the tightening of checks on exports of dual-use goods, French firms that specialise in finding vulnerabilities in computer-system security are still free to export their services - even though their findings risk being misused by clients.
Abu Dhabi, whose President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan is visiting the Elysée Palace on 18 July, has already responded to Emmanuel Macron's calls to invest in France. This is an important step forward in the strategic issue of France's reindustrialisation, which the French leader has taken to the highest level.
Mohammed bin Zayed's election as UAE president rings in the epilogue of a power contest waged by Abu Dhabi's princes for months. A game of musical chairs, which is seeing Tahnoon bin Zayed competing against Khalid bin Mohammed to become crown prince, could lead to the ousting of Mansour bin Zayed in favour of Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
As foreign defence groups watch on looking for opportunities and amid brewing dynastic tensions, Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan is now at the helm of most of Abu Dhabi's armed groups: the new ADQ, the defence conglomerate EDGE and new entities active in various strategic sectors such as AI specialist Group 42.