Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto Saudi leader, dined with President Emmannuel Macron at Paris' Louvre museum on Sunday after flying in on his first trip to France as heir to the Saudi throne.
The pair met for almost three hours Sunday at the Louvre museum, where they visited an exhibition by 19th century painter Eugene Delacroix, creator of the famous "Liberty Leading The People" painting.
Around 18 memorandums of understanding in energy, agriculture, tourism and culture are set to be signed at an official Saudi-France CEO Forum on Tuesday, a source close to the crown prince's delegation told AFP.
"He is marketing Saudi Arabia as a strategic and business partner to the West and a force of stability in the region, as compared to rival Iran which he presents as a destabilising force", he said. People have been protesting outside the Four Seasons Hotel, where he is staying, demanding that Silicon Valley should not establish any kind of partnership with the Prince until Saudi Arabia ends the military intervention in Yemen where millions of Yemeni locals have been brutally killed.
Macron, 40, has walked a diplomatic tightrope in talks with the reformist prince as he seeks to bolster ties with the world's top crude exporter, while also managing relations with the kingdom's arch-nemesis Iran.
He and Macron stated their conflicting views over the Iran nuclear deal, which both Saudi Arabia and the USA strongly criticize.
The iPhone maker is said to be spearheading a push by foreign consumer brands to remove a key obstacle in foreign investment in Saudi, encouraging an incremental step forward for women's rights in the Kingdom and paving the way for Apple and others to open their first offices or shops in the country.
When asked whether Saudi Arabia could be part of such a response, Jubeir declined to comment.
The French president defended weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen but said he was concerned by the humanitarian situation, and would host a conference on the issue before the summer.
The announcement about the Cannes film festival came after Prince Mohammed dined at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's house last week in the U.S. along with studio bosses from Hollywood and famed American actors including Morgan Freeman.
Amid the flurry of announcements in France, campaigners mobilised to keep attention focused on French weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and rights abuses in the country.
Macron invited Hariri to Paris for talks and he has since rescinded his resignation, a development that analysts say exposed the limits of the prince's authority.