Dealing with existing conflicts
Just the day before, the conflict in Libya was in the spotlight during Foreign Minister Maas’ visit to the United Arab Emirates. Germany supports a return to an intra-Libyan process under the auspices of the UN. The conflicting parties have to play a constructive role in negotiations on a ceasefire and examine UN plans for a demilitarised zone. For this to happen, those supporting the conflicting parties need to exert pressure.
The war in Saudi Arabia’s neighbouring country Yemen remains an unresolved conflict. The humanitarian disaster continues to worsen. Germany supports the initiative of UN Special Envoy Griffiths for a nationwide ceasefire and the relaunching of the political process that Saudi Arabia had also advocated. The Foreign Ministers talked about how to encourage the conflicting parties to engage constructively.
Tapping new regional momentum
Saudi Arabia is a key player in the Middle East. Thus, many countries within and beyond the region observe how the Kingdom reacts to new developments. The announced establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a case in point. In Abu Dhabi, Maas had spoken about how this development can be used to generate new momentum for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians and thus for the Middle East peace process. After all, the reactions and actions of the Arab countries will have a major influence on the situation moving forward.
Lebanon is also in the midst of upheaval – and not just since the explosion. To ensure that the disaster translates into a fresh start, the political representatives on the ground now have to take account of the legitimate demands of the protestors and quickly initiate economic and political reform. Talking to his Saudi Arabian Counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, Maas called upon international partners to play a constructive role and push for reform in the country.
Economic and societal opening
Bilateral relations between Germany and Saudi Arabia are complex. Looking at the domestic policy situation in the country, Foreign Minister Maas encouraged Saudi Arabia to continue along the path of economic and societal opening. For him, particularly the younger generation increasingly expect to be able to shape their own future.