Saudi-German strategic ties touch new heights

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman receives German Chancellor Angela Merkelduring the G20 Summit. (File photo)
Updated 19 October 2016

Saudi-German strategic ties touch new heights

RIYADH: With complementary needs in trade and investment as well as similarities in positions on regional conflicts and international affairs, Saudi Arabia and Germany are taking their relationship to the next level. 
The collapse of oil prices and the Saudi government’s decision to diversify the economy within the framework of ‘Vision 2030’ necessitate the need for intensive consultations and strong partnerships in different sectors between Riyadh and Berlin.
On the other hand, the regional conflicts, which have tossed the whole Middle East into turmoil demands more intensive engagement of the Kingdom’s allies like Germany to help solve crises that have hampered all efforts for peace and security.
Despite the conflicts in the region, the economies of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are on sound footing.
This is particularly true of Saudi Arabia — a country where 90 percent of the government revenue used to come from the sale of oil.
As member states of the G20, Saudi Arabia and Germany can work closely in several fields including politics, economy, trade and culture.
This is in the interest of the two countries, because the bilateral relations between Germany and Saudi Arabia have been friendly and untroubled.
In fact, the age-old relations between the Kingdom and Germany were formalized by the friendship treaty between the German Reich and the Kingdom of Hejaz, Najd and the affiliated territories as early as 1929, i.e. three years before the Kingdom was proclaimed as a nation.
Like other Arab nations and some European allies, Saudi Arabia is friendly toward Germany.
Many would like to see Germany play a greater role in world politics, particularly in resolving the Middle East conflict, but in other regional conflicts as well.
The visits of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to Saudi Arabia in February 2007 and May 2010 further strengthened the ties between the two nations.

Common concerns

On the other hand, the then King Abdullah visited Germany in November 2007 and the then Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal paid visits in 2008 and again in February 2011. 
In recent years, relations between the German Bundestag and the Saudi Consultative Assembly (Shoura Council) have also intensified, the most recent exchange being the visit to Berlin by a Shoura Council delegation at the invitation of the Bundestag.
The recent visits to Saudi Arabia by the German side were those by former Federal Environment Minister and Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee Norbert Rottgen in April 2014 and by former Federal Transport Minister and Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Economic Affairs and Energy Committee Peter Ramsauer in May 2014.
This was followed by the visit of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Jeddah on Oct. 12, 2014, followed by another visit to Riyadh this year, when he was invited by the Saudi government to Janadariyah as guest because Germany was the guest country this year.
During his recent visit to the Kingdom, Steinmeier said in a statement: “Saudi Arabia plays a central role in facing crises in the region. In fighting Daesh, it will be crucial to reach an understanding and develop a common political strategy above and beyond military action.”
Germany and Saudi Arabia share common concerns and similar positions on regional issues including on ways and means to combat terrorism especially terror groups like Daesh.
To this end, it is important to note that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked about the whole range of bilateral and regional issues on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey last year.
The leaders of the two countries have strong bonds of relationship, which is evident from the exchange of the visits of high-ranking delegations.
On the Middle East peace process, Germany is a strong believer in the two-state-solution, meaning two states living side by side in peace.
The Arab Peace Initiative, put forward by the late King Abdullah is and remains a corner-stone.
The lack of a serious political process is a matter of deep concern to us.

The danger is that we will see further radicalization. The recent clashes in Jerusalem are deeply worrying.
In the field of economy, Riyadh and Berlin have also forged closer ties. Germany is a major European nation, while Saudi Arabia is a leading player in a key region.
The Kingdom is a member of the G20, a driving force in the Arab League and a leading power in the region.
Economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Germany are strong and go back to the period before the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a modern nation.
German companies built the famous Hejaz Railways in the Kingdom in early 20th century.
Since then, they have been present at every step in the development of the modern economy of Saudi Arabia and the expansion of its infrastructure.
Today, they participate in the creation of a modern public transport system for Riyadh as well as in the diversification of the Saudi petrochemical industry.
German companies are among the pioneers in energy technology, and in particular renewable energy for electricity generation and water desalination in the Kingdom. 
On trade front, the two-way trade between the Kingdom and Germany stands in the region of SR43 billion annually and it has been constantly growing.
But these numbers do not reflect the entirety of the bilateral economic activities.
Crude oil from the Kingdom and other Saudi exports reach Germany not only through the direct route but also to a much larger extent through other European ports, which means that the Saudi exports are much higher than those published in the trade balance sheet.
Germany ranks top among the supplier nations.
The exchange of the traditional range of goods — mechanical engineering and chemical products against crude oil and petrochemical products — continues to play an important role. 
Today, Saudi Arabia puts much emphasis on the creation of a manufacturing industry based on locally available raw materials such as crude oil, gas, or aluminum.
Germany figures among the top investors in the strict sense, as evident from the statistics released by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
More and more German companies are deciding to establish a manufacturing base in the Kingdom (Foreign Direct Investment).
Alone or together with a Saudi partner, they transfer technical know-how to the country, create high-quality jobs, and qualify a new local workforce. A good part of German companies in Saudi Arabia consists of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 
Such companies form the backbone of German Industry.
Often, they are market leaders in their special field.
They are considered as competent, punctual in keeping deadlines, and fair.
They are much-valued partners of Saudi entrepreneurs. Germany figures among the top investors in the strict sense, as defined by Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
More and more German companies are working to establish manufacturing base in the Kingdom, thus transferring technical know-how as well as FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).
Alone or together with a Saudi partner, they transfer technical know-how to the country, create high-quality jobs, and qualify a new local workforce. 
A good part of German companies in Saudi Arabia consists of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Such companies form the backbone of German Industry.
Often, they are market leaders in their special field.
They are considered as competent, punctual in keeping deadlines, and fair.


Saudi books translated into Mandarin launched

Al-Madi expressed his happiness with the important step of translating Saudi literature into Mandarin. (SPA)
Updated 24 August 2019

Saudi books translated into Mandarin launched

  • Al-Madi expressed his happiness with the important step of translating Saudi literature into Mandarin

BEIJING: Three books on Saudi classical literature, which were translated into the Chinese language, were launched at a ceremony organized by the Beijing Teachers Qualification Publishing House.
The event was held in cooperation with the Center for Research and Intercommunication Knowledge in Riyadh, and the Department of Arabic Language at Beijing University for Foreign Studies.
It was attended by the Saudi ambassador to China, Turki Al-Madi, the president of the Center for Research and Intercommunication Knowledge, Dr. Yahya bin Junaid, and Chinese officials. Al-Madi expressed his happiness with the important step of translating Saudi literature into Mandarin.