French President Emmanuel Macron Has Tense Exchange With Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad At G-20

It's been an intense few days at the G20 Summit in Argentina.

French President Emmanuel Macron raises his hands behind the podium at the G20 summit.
Ricardo Ceppi / Getty Images

It's been an intense few days at the G20 Summit in Argentina.

The G20 Summit is underway in Argentina, and it’s been an uncomfortable affair for numerous world leaders — particularly for French President Emmanuel Macron. While the focus of the summit is ostensibly on international trade, economics, and market growth, recent world events have shifted the focus dramatically.

Instead, leaders from across the world are weighing in on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and many are demanding action be taken. According to The Independent, Macron directly confronted Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is rumored to have ordered the murder of Khashoggi.

The two leaders shared an informal — but decidedly uncomfortable — conversation during the summit, which was picked up by nearby microphones. It appears neither man was aware that they were being recorded.

During the conversation, Macron could be heard to confess that he was worried about the extremely volatile situation. Prince Mohammed, for his part, appeared unconcerned. He repeatedly assured Macron that the situation was under control. At one point during the transcript, Prince Mohammed can be heard to say, “It’s okay. I can deal with it.”

Unfortunately, parts of the conversation are indecipherable, making the subject of their tense exchange unclear. However, rumors abound that the topic of the conversation was in fact Khashoggi’s killing, which has made Prince Mohammed’s presence at the summit problematic for some leaders.

Toward the end of the conversation, Macron says, “I am a man of my word.” The official statement from The Elysee Palace claims that during the very brief conversation, President Macron addressed both the killing and the growing need for a solution to the political situation in Yemen.

Macron is not the only leader who met with the prince during the summit. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also agreed to a meeting with the Saudi prince, saying she intended to have strong words with him regarding the murder. However, others were far more friendly to Prince Mohammed; at one point, Russian President Vladimir Putin swung by to give him a high-five.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports on Trump’s interactions with Prince Mohammed. Reports from the Saudi camp indicate the two had a “friendly meeting,” while the White House has come out saying it was nothing more than pleasant formalities.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on October 2 in the Saudi consulate of Istanbul. Numerous reports, including one conducted by the CIA, have determined that Prince Mohammed directly gave the order to have him executed. Saudi officials have aggressively pushed back against the allegations, and Trump has been a vocal supporter of Prince Mohammed since the killing occurred.