German chancellor visits Saudi Arabia and UAE in two-day Gulf tour

Olaf Scholz is seeking to shore up Germany's energy supplies after Russia halted gas shipments

Mariam Al Mheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, and Alexander Schoenfelder, German ambassador to the UAE, welcome German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport. Ryan Carter / UAE Presidential Court
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of a two-day Gulf tour that will also include Qatar.

The German leader was welcomed at Abu Dhabi International Airport by Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, and Germany's ambassador to the UAE, Alexander Schoenfelder.

Earlier, Mr Scholz landed in Saudi Arabia, accompanied by a large industry delegation, where he met senior Saudi officials.

He was received at Jeddah airport by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Governor of the Makkah region, and Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Mr Scholz later met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was scheduled to meet a group of Saudi women.

He hopes to agree on new energy partnerships with Gulf states after losing supplies from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a meeting in Jeddah on Saturday. EPA

In his weekly video message published on Saturday, Mr Scholz said Germany was facing one challenge after another in responding to the energy crisis created by the war in Ukraine.

“We have made far-reaching decisions in Germany since the beginning of the year, ensuring that we can secure the supply of coal, oil and gas,” he said.

“We can say today we’ll probably get through. But no sooner have we succeeded than the next task arises.”

Germany’s economy is already on the verge of a recession amid soaring prices and the prospect of a difficult winter after Russia halted gas shipments, on which Germany relied more than many of its neighbours.

German government sources say Berlin wants to extend co-operation on new technology, such as green hydrogen produced with renewable energy, which Germany could import in vast quantities from Gulf states.

The chancellor is also seeking to strengthen political co-operation with regional powers.

"We have to work with Saudi Arabia if we want to sort out, for example, the question of the war in Yemen or tackle the Iranian question," a government source told AFP.

Saudi Crown Prince receives German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - in pictures

Updated: September 24, 2022, 9:33 PM