King Salman of Saudi Arabia reportedly ended his France vacation earlier than expected on Sunday after some 150,000 French residents did a petition against the closure of a public beach beside his holiday villa, which was planned to be closed off during his three-week stay as part of security measures.
He departed from France to fly to Morocco, according to a Saudi official.
He added that the king’s early departure did not have anything to do with the controversy or media coverage.
Salman’s planned three week visit was expected to boost the French economy, which he was going to spend in his seafront villa in Vallauris with his inner circle.
Locals were outraged with the decision of temporary closure of the beach beside the king’s villa, for privacy and security reasons.
Fuel was added to the controversy when an elevator was installed temporarily, reaching to his villa from the beach for easier access.
The king plans to visit Cannes the following year, according to sources.
France has been maintaining overall good ties with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf countries for the past few years.
Paris’ relations with the kingdom has given it many economic advantages, mostly in the energy and defense industries.
France has recently increased its commercial ties with the Arab states in the region through signing some lucrative security sector deals.