Merkel in Saudi for G20, co-operation talks

2017-04-30 19:48
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Saudi King Salman in Jeddah. (AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Saudi King Salman in Jeddah. (AP)

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Jeddah - German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Saudi King Salman on Sunday, state media said, as she began a visit focused on bilateral relations and preparations for the next G20 meeting.

King Salman received Merkel in his palace in the western city of Jeddah as the two presided over a signing ceremony for several co-operation agreements.

Merkel was expected to discuss with the Saudis the agenda for the G20 meeting in July, including the Paris climate accord and G20 decisions on energy, according to a German official.

"There will be for sure a discussion over how Germany could support Saudi efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its dependency on fossil energy," the official said ahead of the visit.

Reduce tension

"Economic relations are solid but not shining. The volume of commercial exchange stood at €8bn in 2016. German investments in Saudi were around €1.2bn",  the official said.

The world's largest oil exporter has embarked on an ambitious plan to diversify its oil-dependent economy after a sharp drop in crude prices hit revenues.

Merkel is also expected to urge Saudi Arabia and its fellow Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies to reduce tension with their Shi'ite-dominated neighbour Iran, the official added.

Merkel will also meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful son of the king who is also defence minister.

Merkel travels to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, where German investments stand at around €2.4bn, the German official said.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  king salman  |  saudi arabia  |  germany  |  economy

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