Kingdom, Germany to sign several agreements to strengthen ties

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Updated 30 April 2017

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 Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

Updated 42 min 26 sec ago

Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

  • Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will take place in phases
  • Al-Rabiah said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility"

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will begin to ease its COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will be done in phases and will depend on reports on the spread of the virus. 

The first phase will begin with expanding capacity to serve "critical patients" and the second phase will include intensifying COVID-19 tests and early detection .

Speaking in a press conference on Monday, the Health Minister said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility in practicing social distancing.” 

"After five months since this pandemic have started, where the global health systems faced great difficulties in dealing with it, the society has become today more aware of this virus and implementing the measures of the social distancing, as it is a new experience for all of us," he said in remarks quoted by the Saudi Press Agency. 

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READ MORE: Saudi crown prince says COVID-19 will pass

Saudi Arabia reports 9 new COVID-19 deaths

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Rabiah said imposing the precautionary measures during an early phase of the pandemic had put the Kingdom in more control of the virus spread.

"We are proud of the Saudi experts in this field who are internationally recognized, and we rely on their experiences in dealing with that virus," he added.  

The minister said that people should continue taking precautionary measures while leaving their homes by using facemasks and hand gloves.

The Health Ministry recorded nine new fatalities and 2,235 new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday. The new deaths have increased the virus-related toll in Saudi Arabia to 399 and the total number of confirmed cases to 74,795. 

It also said the number of recoveries has risen to 2,148, raising the total number of recovered cases 45,668.