detail - Regional Programme Gulf States
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Despite challenges on the diplomatic level since the end of 2017, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Federal Republic of Germany have kept and enjoyed excellent bilateral relations for decades. German chancellor Dr Angela Merkel’s visit to Saudi Arabia in spring 2017 marked a further strengthening of those bilateral ties, especially with regard to security and economic cooperation.
Reflecting Saudi Arabia’s growing role as an important and reliable strategic partner for common security and economic prosperity in the Gulf region and the Middle East generally, a range of new bilateral initiatives has been initiated in the past year. For instance, Saudi armed forces and border guards are trained by the Bundeswehr and federal police from Germany. Furthermore, over 100 German companies employing around 40,000 Saudis are currently operating in Kingdom, despite declining trade and foreign direct investment due to lower oil prices. In addition, the Goethe Institute in Riyadh, opened in 2014, continues to foster cultural relations between Saudi Arabia and Germany through language trainings. Yet, there is room for improvement: Deepened knowledge transfer and exchange could bolster the Saudi transformation efforts under the umbrella of Vision 2030 and offer a potential starting point for enhanced bilateral ties between the Kingdom and Germany.
Against this backdrop, the IfDS and the KAS Regional Programme Gulf States plan to launch a new event series with a specific emphasis on political, economic, and cultural aspects of both countries’ bilateral relations. Its first event taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 30 to 31 January 2018 themed “Saudi-German Relations: Opportunities for Joint Cooperation” will point at existing cooperation in numerous fields but also aims to reveal untapped synergetic potential, offering prospects for new areas of partnership. Thereby, the roundtable should examine avenues to further deepen trust and dialogue between Riyadh and Berlin.