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Scholz to Visit Saudi As Germany Seeks Energy Supplies

BERLIN: Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Saudi Arabia and meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of a Gulf trip, his spokesman said Monday, as Germany rushes to secure energy supplies.

Scholz, whose two-day trip next weekend will also take him to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, becomes the latest Western leader to meet with the crown prince.

Bin Salman was until recently regarded as a pariah in the West due to his suspected role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

But he is being courted again as Europe and its allies urgently seek fresh sources of fossil fuels after Russia cut gas supplies amid soaring tensions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Scholz, accompanied by a business delegation, will visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday, where he will meet with the crown prince and — if his health permits it — King Salman, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

He did not go into detail about the reasons for Scholz s Gulf visit but said he would be “very surprised” if the topic of energy was not discussed.