Germany’s Scholz to visit Gulf states on energy hunt

Saudi Arabia

Germany’s Scholz to visit Gulf states on energy hunt

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will on Saturday begin a two-day tour of Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, in the hope of sealing new energy deals with the fossil fuel exporters.

Scholz, accompanied by a sizeable industry delegation, will first head to Saudi Arabia before visiting the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on Sunday.

The chancellor hopes to agree new energy partnerships with the oil- and gas-rich Gulf states, with the loss of Russian supplies in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

Scholz however is faced with a diplomatic balancing act, as he will have to navigate significant differences with his hosts over human rights.

"We are meeting with difficult partners there," a government source said, but Germany "cannot rule out working together" with them.

Scholz's planned meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday is seen as particularly sensitive.

Bin Salman was until recently regarded as a pariah in the West due to his suspected role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The German government strongly condemned the journalist's murder and would not be "editing" its position, the government sources indicated.

- 'Have to work with Saudis' -

Saudi Arabia's importance as a fossil fuels exporter and regional power meant