German consul general hails Saudi reforms

German Consul General Holger Ziegeler, center, with other diplomats and guests at the German Unity Day celebrations in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 15 November 2017

German consul general hails Saudi reforms

JEDDAH: The German consul general on Sunday hailed recent steps toward female empowerment in Saudi Arabia, including lifting the ban on women driving.
Speaking at a German Unity Day celebration, Holger Ziegeler also praised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “determined” reform efforts.
“It’s a very good time to be here and to be part… of that future movement,” the consul general said.
Ziegeler, who was appointed in 2016, added that he has witnessed ground-breaking changes in the Kingdom.
He described the crown prince’s announcement last month of plans to construct the Neom megacity as “breath-taking.”
Within a day, “thousands of (German) institutions and companies that want to, and can certainly contribute to, this huge project contacted us,” Ziegeler added.
More than 10,000 Muslims from Germany visited Saudi Arabia during the pilgrimage season, and the German Consulate gave out 18,000 visas last year, he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was re-elected in September, visited the Kingdom in April, where she met with King Salman and the crown prince. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited in July.
Germany’s new foreign minister is expected to visit soon, “probably” Jeddah, said Ziegeler, who talked about Germany’s “love affair with the fledgling art scene” in the city.
He invited eight artists to a week-long contemporary art tour through Germany, and unveiled a large graffiti wall by Jeddah artists Frop & Muso under the title “Willkommen! Marhaba.”
He said: “Many ideas spring from encounters with other cultures. This is true for art as much as in industry and science.”
He added: “It has been a delight to see Frop & Muso climb up and down a huge scaffolding over the last week to complete their amazing mural as the backdrop to our National Day celebration.”
The large-scale graffiti artwork playfully amalgamates Saudi elements such as Red Sea dolphins with significant German icons such as the Brandenburg Gate.

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

Updated 2 min 24 sec ago

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

  • ‘I think we have to find out what happened first’
  • ‘Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Saudis’ request for patience.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

The Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman.

After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the disappearance. The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his “feeling” from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term.

“It sounded to me, maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Turkey after talks with King Salman and the crown prince in Riyadh on the case of Khashoggi.

Pompeo had a brief meeting with the king before a lengthy, 40-minute discussion with the crown prince.

“We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together,” the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo to the Saudi capital.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also had talks with Pompeo. “The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said later.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance.