Chancellor Olaf Scholz is traveling to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates next weekend. In Saudi Arabia he will also meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit announced in Berlin on Monday. The de facto ruler of the kingdom is held responsible by the US secret service for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul four years ago. The crown prince denies having approved the act.
After the murder, the crown prince was initially largely isolated internationally. After a meeting with US President Joe Biden in Jeddah and a trip to the European Union in July, during which he met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, his dealings with Western heads of state and government seem to be gradually returning to normal. Hebestreit said they are following the previous visits and meetings.
Gas supply is likely to be the focus in Qatar. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) agreed on an energy partnership during a visit to the small but very rich Gulf Emirate in March. Concrete agreements between Qatar and German companies are not yet known. Qatar had invested in gas since the 1980s and 1990s and is now one of the world's largest LNG exporters.