German-Saudi relations will continue to flourish
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Germany — our Day of German Unity.
The end to the separation of our nation was made possible, first and foremost, by the courage of peaceful demonstrators in the former German Democratic Republic, who stood up to the Communist regime and its instruments of oppression.
However, German unity would not have been possible without the trust and support of our allies and partners in Europe and across the Atlantic, who saw that the new Germany, after the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, had chosen the path of peace, freedom and European unification.
Since then, Germany — Europe’s strongest economy — has persisted in her efforts to create a more united Europe and to strengthen the multilateral world order based on international law.
Germany’s multilateral approach is also reflected in our engagement with the G20 format, which this year is presided over by the Kingdom. The Saudi presidency has been an opportunity for G20 states to discuss our increased efforts to tackle urgent global matters, such as climate change and the suspension of debt repayment for the world’s least developed countries.
The support for free trade, expressed by Saudi Arabia and Germany within the framework of the World Trade Organization, is another great example of multilateral cooperation.
At the same time, our two countries also share strong and historical bilateral ties. The 1929 Friendship Treaty between Germany and what was then the Kingdom of Hijaz and Najd precedes by one year the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdul Aziz. The longstanding relationship between the two countries has been strengthened over the decades by leaders from both sides — but just as much by the German and Saudi entrepreneurs and business leaders who have pioneered what is now a thriving cooperation.
The expansion of our Goethe Institutes in Riyadh and Jeddah illustrates the strong motivation of many young Saudi men and women to learn the German language.
Over the past year, Saudi Arabia and Germany have further intensified their cooperation, strengthening economic, educational and cultural ties, despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and all the limitations and setbacks that have come with it.
The presence of the Saudi Ministry of Investment in Germany, as well as intensified efforts by the German Saudi Liaison Office for Economic Affairs in the Kingdom, will help companies and individuals to increase their investments and explore new fields of cooperation.
Meanwhile, the ongoing specialist medical training of young female and male Saudi doctors in some of Germany’s best hospitals has taken on special significance this year, with Saudi doctors treating German COVID-19 patients. At the same time, German companies are sending health equipment to Saudi hospitals.
Having Lufthansa maintain its flight connections to Riyadh despite the health crisis, with the support of the Saudi authorities, shows how German-Saudi cooperation has succeeded in keeping open lines of communication between our peoples and business communities during the ongoing pandemic.
Last but not least, the expansion of our Goethe Institutes in Riyadh and Jeddah illustrates the strong motivation of many young Saudi men and women to learn the German language. Moreover, it underlines their great interest in cultural exchange at a time when Saudi Arabia is putting culture at the very heart of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Despite the challenges arising from the pandemic, I am therefore more than optimistic that German-Saudi relations will continue to flourish and that our two countries will be able to address any future challenges together.
• Jörg Ranau is Germany's ambassador to Saudi Arabia.