Good ol' Jacques! Looking out for No 1 again…France seeks to boost Saudi trade
Jacques Chirac is hoping to boost his country's exports
President Chirac of France has begun a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia with a meeting with King Abdullah.
The two leaders reportedly focused on Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions and Syria's involvement with Lebanon.
On Sunday economics will dominate the discussions with the French anxious to win lucrative defence contracts, among others, ahead of the UK and US.
Analysts say French business leaders want to cash in on the Saudi economy, booming because of high oil prices.
Co-operation on security and fighting terrorism are also on the agenda.
During the visit Mr Chirac will become the first non-Arab leader to address the country's consultative assembly.
The BBC's Clive Myrie, who is travelling with the French delegation, says oil price rises have made Saudi Arabia a magnet for Western business interests.
In contrast, our correspondent adds, the French economy is dragging its feet with slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment.
US and British companies already have a strong foothold in Saudi Arabia, and lucrative defence contracts are said to be a priority for the French delegation.
Mr Chirac is also expected to stress the need for both France and Saudi Arabia to continue their close co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
A joint Islamic art exhibition, organised by the Louvre museum in Paris, is scheduled to be officially opened during the visit.
On Sunday Mr Chirac will become the first non-Arab leader to address the majlis al-shura, the consultative assembly which reformers hope might one day become a parliament.
I saw that. i said to myself wtf?! The_Beer_Slayer