Berlin offers Riyadh full support to crush IS

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman receives German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel at his palace in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman receives German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel at his palace in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)


Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel have described the recent developments in the Middle East as a source of “concern” for the region and the world as a whole.

The talks held between the king and Gabriel at Al-Yamamah Palace focused on the Islamic State, Iraq and Yemen, as well as other key bilateral and regional issues.

Gabriel, who is also the minister for economy and energy, acknowledged the Kingdom’s important role as an ally in the fight against the IS, and said the Kingdom would have Germany’s full support when it came to defending itself. “The good relationship between Germany and Saudi Arabia as well as the regional situation were the center of my talks with the king,” said the German official.

“What is happening in the south of Saudi Arabia, the IS threat, the situation in Iraq, and other issues are of concern for everyone in Europe,” said Gabriel. Speaking to Arab News, Gabriel said the joint Saudi-German Business Forum, which concluded on Sunday, would yield positive results.

He said: “German firms could provide an important service in the modernization of infrastructure in the Kingdom.” He pointed out that his talks with several top Saudi officials including Prince Mohammed bin Salman, defense minister; Ibrahim Al-Assaf, finance minister; Abdullah Al-Muqbil, transport minister; and Abdullah Al-Hossayen, minister of water & electricity, have been “candid and substantial.”

During the meeting with King Salman, Gabriel conveyed the greetings of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. For his part, the king sent his greetings to Merkel.

Al-Assaf was quoted in reports as saying that trade between the two countries reached $12.4 billion in 2013.

The meeting was attended by the Crown Prince Muqrin, deputy premier; Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of National Guard; Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior; Prince Mohammed bin Salman, defense minister; and Boris Ruge, German ambassador.

Gabriel, Social Democratic Party’s leader, is the first top German official to visit Riyadh since the death of King Abdullah. Gabriel and his accompanying delegation will visit Qatar after the UAE to boost commercial links with the Gulf states and promote German exports.


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