Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Reunification of Germany, our Day of German Unity. The end to the separation of our nation was made possible first and foremost by the courage of peaceful demonstrators in the former “German Democratic Republic” who stood up to the Communist regime and its instruments of oppression. However, German Unity would not have been possible without the trust and support of our allies and partners in Europe and across the Atlantic who saw that the new Germany after World War II and the fall of the wall had chosen the path of peace, freedom and European unification. Since then, Germany – Europe’s strongest economy – has persisted in her efforts to create a more united Europe and to strengthen the multilateral world order based on international law.
Germany’s multilateral approach is also reflected in our engagement with the G20 format, currently presided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi presidency has been an opportunity for G20 states to discuss our increased efforts to tackle urgent global matters such as climate change or suspension of debt repayment for the world’s least developed countries. The support for free trade expressed by Saudi Arabia and Germany within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is another great example of multilateral cooperation.
At the same time, our two countries also share strong and historic bilateral ties. The Friendship Treaty between Germany and the then Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd from 1929 precedes by one year the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by His late Majesty King Abdulaziz. The longstanding relationship between the two countries has been strengthened over the decades by leaders from both sides, but just as much by German and Saudi entrepreneurs and businessmen who have pioneered what is today a thriving cooperation.
Over the last year, Saudi Arabia and Germany have further intensified their cooperation, strengthening economic, educational and cultural ties – in spite of Covid19 and all the limitations and setbacks which came with it. The presence of the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA) in Germany, as well as intensified efforts by the German Saudi Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO) in the Kingdom will help companies and businessmen to increase their investments and to explore new fields of cooperation. Meanwhile the ongoing specialist medical training of young female and male Saudi doctors in some of Germany’s best hospitals has gained special significance during this year: Saudi doctors have treated German Covid19 patients. At the same time, German companies are sending health equipment to Saudi hospitals. Having Lufthansa maintain its flight connections to Riyadh against the odds of COVID-19 and with the support of the Saudi authorities shows how German-Saudi cooperation succeeded in keeping open lines of communication between our peoples and business communities during the ongoing pandemic. Last but not least, the expansion of our Goethe Institutes in Riyadh as well as in Jeddah proves the strong motivation of many young Saudi men and women to learn German. Moreover, it also underlines their great interest in cultural exchange at a time when Saudi-Arabia is putting culture at the very heart of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Despite the challenges set by the current pandemic, I am therefore more than optimistic that German-Saudi relations will continue to flourish and that our two countries will be able to address many challenges of the times ahead together.