A furious Emmanuel Macron faced down Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as he vented his concerns over the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The French President made clear his disquiet to Bin Salman during a tense exchange in front of journalists and television cameras at the G20 Summit of world leaders in Argentina.
In footage of the conversation, Bin Salman is heard telling Macron not to be worried about the killing of Khashoggi, who died within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. Operatives with ties to the Crown Prince have been arrested over the killing.
Despite the reassurances, Macron appears to reply “I am worried,” as the awkward encounter continued.
The face-off came after Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted Bin Salman with an apparent “high five”.
Slapping their hands in mid-air, the heads of state embraced and smiled as they took seats at the summit’s round table.
Meanwhile diplomats from the G20 countries continued to haggle over a final summit statement.
Deep divisions opened up over what language to use on the Paris climate accord and over issues relating to the World Trade Organisation, according to European officials.
Facing the prospect of a no-statement summit, European delegations tried to create a common front and may come out with their own separate declaration if they cannot get the US or others on board.
Friday’s G20 was supposed to focus on issues such as development, infrastructure and investment, but as the gathering officially kicked off, those themes seem like afterthoughts, overshadowed by contentious matters like the US-China trade dispute and the conflict over Ukraine.
An expected high-profile bilateral meeting between US President Donald Trump and Putin planned for Saturday was abruptly cancelled by Trump in a tweet citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels over the weekend.
Separately, the arrival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was delayed after her official jet was hit by technical issues, forcing it to return to the country shortly after take-off.