By Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Saudi Arabia and Germany will sign several agreements during the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will arrive in Jeddah on Sunday, German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller said on Saturday.
“Merkel will hold wide-ranging talks with high-ranking Saudi officials, including King Salman, on Sunday,” he said, adding that she will also hold consultations with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The talks… will focus on bilateral relations, fields of cooperation between the two countries, further possibilities of collaboration, and regional and international developments,” Haller added. “The next meeting of the G20 will also feature in the talks, with Germany hosting the G20 Summit on July 7 this year in Hamburg.”
Asked about details of the deals to be signed during Merkel’s visit, Haller said: “It Is a bit early to announce them as the two sides are still finalizing and fine-tuning the agreements.”
A meeting of Saudi and German businessmen will be held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the sidelines of Merkel’s visit on April 30 and May 1. Merkel will meet Saudi businesswomen to learn more about social and economic developments in the Kingdom.
The German Embassy said she will be accompanied by a high-level economic delegation headed by the secretary of state at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and will include CEOs of the largest German companies interested in the economic changes taking place in the Kingdom within the frameworks of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.
Merkel will wrap up her visit on Monday and travel to Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia and Germany are close allies, with diplomatic relations established in 1954. Bilateral ties are fostered by regular high-level visits in both directions.
The late King Abdullah visited Germany in November 2007, and Merkel visited Saudi Arabia in 2007 and 2010.
Riyadh and Berlin have forged close commercial ties. Saudi Arabia is Germany’s second-biggest trading partner in the Arab world after the UAE. Germany is the third-largest supplier of Saudi imports. Imports of German products and services rose in 2015 and 2016 despite falling oil prices.
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