French President Emmanuel Macron chatted privately Friday with Saudi Arabia's controversial crown prince on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, but some intriguing snippets were caught by microphones. (Watch the video.) The Guardian provides some highlights as Macron appears to be trying to advise and/or warn Mohammed bin Salman, while the prince seeks to reassure him that he's got a handle on things:
- Macron: “I do worry. I am worried … I told you.”
- Prince: “Yes, you told me. Thank you very much.”
- Macron: “You never listen to me."
- Prince: “No, I listen, of course."
- Macron: "Because I told you. It was more important for you."
- Prince: “It’s OK. I can deal with it.”
So what are they talking about? A spokesman for Macron said later that the two primarily discussed allegations of Saudi war crimes in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A critical analysis at Middle East Eye before the summit began noted that Saudi Arabia is an important buyer of French weapons and finds that Macron "has acted as something of an image consultant" to the prince over the last year. (The prince had an enthusiastic greeting for Vladimir Putin.)