German minister to discuss Syria, Iran

German Ambassador Boris Ruge with Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar at the German National Day reception in Riyadh on Wednesday.

German Ambassador Boris Ruge with Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar at the German National Day reception in Riyadh on Wednesday.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Saudi Arabia on Sunday and Monday for talks on key regional issues including Syria, said Michael Ohnmacht, spokesman of the German Embassy, here Thursday.

“The program of the visit includes talks with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir and meetings with a number of senior Saudi officials,” said Ohnmacht, while giving details of the minister’s visit.

“The German foreign minister will conduct a tour of the region including visits to Tehran and Amman, Jordan where he will participate in the ministerial meeting of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Mediterranean Partnership meeting with the six partner countries of the Mediterranean region,” said Ohnmacht.

Steinmeier will be the first German foreign minister to visit Tehran since 2003, he said.

The visit of German foreign minister to Iran comes months after Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal in July. Ohnmacht was speaking on the sidelines of the German National Day reception hosted by the embassy here on Wednesday night. The reception was attended by a large number of diplomats, businessmen and local media. Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, who was received by the ambassador, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The reception was attended by several ambassadors including US Ambassador Joseph W. Westphal, Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer and Singapore Ambassador Lawrence Anderson. Arab News Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi also attended the reception and conveyed his greetings to Ambassador Ruge and his embassy officials on the occasion.

Asked about the details of the visit of Steinmeier, Ohnmacht said that the minister would also hold talks with the GCC secretary-general during his trip to the Kingdom.

During his trip to Iran, Steinmeier will meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani, as well as other senior officials from Iran and the region on Saturday.

Referring to his three-nation tour, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Steinmeier will travel to Tehran on Friday for talks on the implementation of the nuclear deal, regional issues, in particular the efforts for a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

“Only a political agreement among the countries of the region, involving Iran and Saudi Arabia, can put an end to the violence in Syria and bring a sustainable stability to the region,” he stressed.

The German minister will be accompanied by a delegation, which will include a number of members of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) in addition to a cultural team.

Steinmeier met with Al-Jubeir during his visit to Germany in August. The two ministers also met on the sidelines of UN meetings held in New York in September this year.


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