Saudi-German cooperation boosted by delegation’s visit, envoy says

The German Embassy in Riyadh hosted a press conference to discuss points of cooperation with Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo/Saad Al-Dossari)
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  • ‘Things are moving in the right direction,’ German Ambassador to Kingdom Dieter Lamle says
  • Trip came after Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Kingdom in September

RIYADH: The visit of a German delegation to Saudi Arabia has been hailed a success by the European nation’s embassy in Riyadh and could pave the way for greater cooperation between the two countries.

The trip came just weeks after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Saudi Arabia in September.

“We had the visit of the federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sept. 24 and I think that to have seven German delegates in Saudi Arabia six weeks later is a very, very good sign that things are moving in the right direction,” German Ambassador to the Kingdom Dieter Lamle said during a panel discussion hosted by the mission.

Scholz met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah during a two-day tour of the Gulf region. The pair discussed regional and international issues, the possibility of greater cooperation on energy and how Germany might be able to support Saudi Vision 2030.

Lamle said he welcomed the delegation of German politicians, academics and culture experts — headed by Otto Wiesheu, president of the German-Arab Friendship Association — to Riyadh to discuss the chancellor’s visit and opportunities for more cooperation with the Kingdom.

“We had a press conference with the German delegation that was visiting Saudi Arabia from Bavaria,” Lamle said.

“We had a business dialogue and a very intense dialogue with two universities here in Saudi Arabia to see where our fields of cooperation (might be) … and we agreed on the next steps.”

Members of the delegation had earlier visited King Saud University and King Faisal University where they discussed the possibility of setting up a student exchange program. They also spoke to the Shoura Council and members of the Saudi and German business communities.

During the panel discussion the delegates spoke of the importance of Saudi-German corporation in business, while Lamle stressed the need for regular dialogue between the two countries.

“I think relations live off visits … from Saudi Arabia to Germany and from Germany to Saudi Arabia, because they increase mutual understanding,” he said.

The success of the delegates’ visit and the positive message they would take back home with them would stimulate even more visitors and more cooperation, he added.

Among the visiting delegates were Alexander Radwan, a member of the German Bundestag who serves on the foreign affairs committee, Houssam Maarouf, vice president of the German-Arab Friendship Association, Kai-Olaf Hinrichsen, a professor at the Technical University of Munich, and Volker Leinweber, managing director of the Bavarian Industry Association.