Germany keen on not missing opportunities in the Arabian Gulf

May 27, 2010

Bahrain and Germany on Thursday called for a diplomatic settlement of all disputes and conflicts in the Arabian Gulf.

Security and stability are the foundations of development and progress, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed at their meeting in Bahrain according to Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The German leader arrived on Thursday afternoon in Bahrain at the conclusion of a four-day tour of the Gulf region.

BNA said that the two leaders reviewed the latest regional and international developments and that political talks focused on the peace process in the Middle East and ways to support the indirect talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis to achieve peace.

Locally, King Hamad and Merkel agreed on the significance of the role of the private sector in both countries in promoting cooperation, boosting trade figures, setting up joint ventures and exchanging expertise, the news agency said.

On Wednesday, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister, said that Bahrain was confident that Merkel’s visit would consolidate bilateral political, economic, trade and cultural cooperation.

“The visit will be an opportunity for both countries to develop their ties through reviewing ways of bolstering their cooperation relations and exchanging views on bilateral, regional and international issues,” he said. “It’s high time that both countries strengthened their ties so as to fulfill the aspirations and expectations of their peoples, Shaikh Khalid said.

According to German TV, Deutsche Welle, Merkel said in Doha where she arrived from Saudi Arabia that her country and Europe must be sure not to miss out on business opportunities in the fast-growing region.

The Chancellor said that Germany should do more to build business relations with the region and warned that Asian nations were doing better at developing ties with the Gulf countries, the TV station said.

“We are definitely not moving fast enough. We have to exert ourselves,” she said.

Merkel said that she would push for the stalled free trade agreement with the Gulf States when she meets EU leaders in June.

“Along with other heads of state and government, I will exert myself to ensure that the free trade agreement is finally wrapped up,” she reportedly said in the bid to rival the Asian competition for the Gulf market.

Addressing an audience in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Merkel, who heads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), urged Europeans to discover Islamic civilization.

She said Europeans were generally not well informed about Islamic art and civilization and that they needed to remember that European intellectual leadership was not something set in stone.

“We in Europe sometimes forget the fact that over many centuries, the Arab world was far ahead of us in science and the arts,” she said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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