Macron from France will give Saudi Arabia an extremist list



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PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he would draw up a list of extremist organizations to broadcast to Saudi Arabia after his crown prince promised to cut back his funds.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the French Embbady during the 5th Summit of the African Union and the European Union (AU-EU) in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire November 29, 2017. REUTERS / Philippe Wojazer

groups supervised by the Muslim World League, based in Mecca, which for decades was in charge of spreading the strict Wahhabi school of Islam around the world. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, seeks to modernize the kingdom and adhere to a more open and tolerant interpretation of Islam.

"He never did it publicly, but when I went to Riyadh (this month), he compromised, so that we could give him a list and he would cut the funding," Macron said during an interview with France 24. television.

"I believe him, but I will follow it up." Trust is based on the results, "Macron added.

The crown prince has already taken some steps to soften ultra-strict Saudi social restrictions, reducing the role of the religious morality of the police, allowing public concerts and announcing plans to allow women to drive next year.

The head of the World Muslim League told Reuters last week that his focus now was on annihilating extremist ideology. "We must eliminate this extremist thinking through the work we do, we need to annihilate the religious severity and extremism, which is the entry point to terrorism," Mohammed al-Issa said in an interview.

Macron, speaking from Abidjan, said he had also sought commitments to cut funding for extremist groups in Qatar, Iran and Turkey.

The French leader will make a quick trip to Doha on December 7, where he will discuss regional ties and could sign military and transport agreements, including the sale of 12 more Rafale fighter jets.

Qatar has improved its ties with Iran since Saudi Arabia and other Arab states boycotted it for alleged links to Islamist groups and their relations with Tehran.

Macron said he still intended to travel to Iran next year, but he wanted to make sure that there was a discussion and a strategic agreement on his ballistic missile program and his destabilization activities in several countries in the region.

Report of Leigh Thomas and John Irish; Dan Grebler edition

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