Published: Mon, May 01, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

After Saudi stop, Germany' Merkel heads to neighboring UAE

After Saudi stop, Germany' Merkel heads to neighboring UAE

Even before Laura Bush, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a visit in 2007 and called on Saudi King and other top officials.

Members of the Royal family also abide by the Foreign Office's advice when they visit the strict Muslim kingdom.

During the meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Merkel touched upon such issues as women's rights, the death penalty in the Arab country and the conflict in Yemen. Merkel arrived Sunday for talks with the oil-rich kingdom's monarch, beginning a two-nation trip to the Gulf. Germany has provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.

Merkel met Saudi King Salman as she began a visit focused on bilateral relations and preparations for the next G20 meeting.

As is customary, Saudi officials did not comment on the details of the meetings.

Trade is also high on the agenda.

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King Salman received Merkel in his palace in Jeddah, Spa state news agency said, adding that the two presided over a signing ceremony for several cooperation agreements in the fields of technology, energy, business and security.

Prior to her, the British prime minister Theresa May declined to wear the traditional abaya costume on her visit to the country as well, so, Arabian princes have to use to see female Western politicians with no headscarf on their head.

In December, Merkel pushed ahead with her plans for a burka ban after saying the "full veil is not appropriate" in Germany. She cited the historic first-time participation of women in Saudi Arabia's only elections for local council seats in 2015. While there is no German moratorium on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, the German government does review deals on a case-by-case basis to ensure any military equipment sold can not be used for internal repression.

A Saudi-led coalition backed by significant Emirati support has been bombing and battling Yemeni rebels for more than two years in support of the impoverished country's internationally recognized government. Associated Press writer Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin.

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