German leader seeks energy deals, alliances on Gulf trip
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is traveling to the Middle East on Saturday for a two-day, three-country visit aimed at striking new energy deals and forging fresh alliances amid the economic and geopolitical turmoil resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The German government has scrambled to wean Europe's biggest economy off Russian oil, coal and gas since coming to office last December.
While imports from Russia have declined sharply since then, there are fears that Germany, like other European countries, could face an energy shortage in the coming months.
Bridging the gap in natural gas supplies is a particular concern and one of the reasons Scholz is heading to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar together with a high-level business delegation, senior officials said.
The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the trip, said Scholz will also address human rights issues when he meets Saturday with Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah.