Kingdom, Germany to sign several agreements to strengthen ties

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Updated 30 April 2017
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Kingdom, Germany to sign several agreements to strengthen ties

RIYADH: 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.


Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

Updated 18 February 2019
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Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

  • Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy
  • Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom

RIYADH: A major transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia’s economic relationship with Pakistan, according to Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, a former ambassador to Islamabad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News, the former envoy said greater interaction between business and the private sectors in both countries will take the historical bond “to a new level.” 

Asseri, who spent nine years in Islamabad and was the second-longest serving Saudi ambassador to the country, said: “We know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always enjoyed an incomparable level of understanding and friendship based on religion, culture and values. There is a historical bond between the two countries. 

“I have no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking a cohesive approach to strengthen the relationship and take it to another level.” 

Asseri said that while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperated closely on security matters, bilateral trade between the countries remained limited to about $4 billion. 

“We need to ... encourage the private sectors to interact more. We can help Pakistan’s industry and we need to become more involved in the trade sector. There are advanced industries and firms in Pakistan, and they have raw materials — it’s a good environment for investors.”

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy. The Kingdom is also making billion-dollar direct investments in the country in line with the China-Pakistan economic corridor. 

“I am happy to see a major transformation underway in Saudi-Pakistani economic relationships with our leadership and government deciding to invest in the economic development of Pakistan,” he said. 

The former ambassador said frequent official visits between the two countries were important. 

“I came back recently from Pakistan, and the vibe of the media, government and people was so optimistic. Pakistanis were excited about the crown prince’s visit. People hope it will bring great opportunities for the economy as well as strengthening the political and social ties between the two countries,” he said.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had faced many challenges together in recent decades.

In 2001, during Asseri’s first year as Saudi ambassador in Pakistan, the 9/11 attacks on New York led to greater cooperation between Islamabad and Riyadh in dealing with terrorism.

The Kingdom had been closely involved with Pakistan since its independence, he said. “King Abdul Aziz sent King Saud and Prince Faisal to Pakistan at that time. So if we go back through history, we can see that this relationship is truly unique.” 

Asseri also highlighted the ties between the two countries on humanitarian issues, security and military issues, saying: “Pakistan has suffered serious security and humanitarian consequences of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, besides housing millions of Afghan refugees.

“Together Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have worked for peace in Afghanistan and will do whatever it takes to achieve this long-desired goal.”

Asseri said Pakistanis were quick to show their appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the past regardless of the change in Pakistani leadership over the years. 

“The relationship is unique because it is between people. Such a relationship (will) keep growing with every generation.

“When Pakistan was in a difficult position in 2005 after a devastating earthquake, Saudi Arabia went out of its way to provide the support it needed. Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and eight ministers visited Balochistan. Field hospitals were created with Saudi doctors treating people and performing surgery there.” 

Pakistan also has a deep loyalty to Saudi Arabia, Asseri said. “Pakistan has military expertise, and through cooperation between the two countries, it helped the Saudi military during its development.” 

“The Kingdom’s recent appointment of a Saudi commercial attache in Pakistan will also bolster the economic links between the two countries,” he said. 

“There are good minds in Pakistan and good products that could be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.”

Asseri said he is also optimistic that Saudi plans to build a major oil refinery in Gwadar will help create an “economic hub.” 

The former envoy said the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan will add to the relationship between the countries. 

Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom. 

“Young Pakistanis who are advanced in the IT and industrial sectors are looking forward to helping and cooperating with Saudi Arabia, and sharing their experiences and knowledge,” he said.