Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks this afternoon on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India. In addition, according to information from the German delegation, meetings with Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have been firmly agreed during the two-day stay in New Delhi.

Scholz had already visited the Saudi crown prince, who is the de facto ruler of the most powerful country on the Arabian peninsula, in the port city of Jeddah a year ago. Crown Prince Mohammed is held responsible by US intelligence agencies for the brutal murder of government critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul four years ago.

Years of crisis in German-Saudi relations

However, he himself denies being the mastermind of the crime. The murder in October 2018 led to international isolation of the 37-year-old heir to the throne and plunged German-Saudi relations into a crisis that lasted for years and only ended with the Chancellor’s visit after four years.

Due to the extensive cessation of hostilities in the Yemen war, in which Saudi Arabia is heavily involved, Germany relaxed the arms export ban for the country in July. The federal government still wants to prevent the delivery of Eurofighter fighter jets.

The heads of state of Egypt and Nigeria are only guests at the G20 summit. Nigeria is the most populous and economically strongest country in Africa. Egypt is number three in both categories. Egyptian President Al-Sisi, once commander-in-chief of the army, came to power after a coup in 2013.

Concern for human rights

Since then, according to human rights activists, around 60,000 opposition activists have been imprisoned in the country, some without trial. Relatives of critics living abroad are also repeatedly arrested. The German-Egyptian who lives in Frankfurt am Main and sharp critic of Al-Sisi, Fagr Eladly, went on a hunger strike with her brother a few days ago because of their father’s arrest in Egypt.

Scholz left for the G20 summit yesterday evening with Finance Minister Christian Lindner. For Lindner, it is the first time he has taken part in such a top meeting of the leading economic powers. It is common practice for the finance ministers to accompany the heads of state and government. At the last summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, Lindner apologized “exceptionally due to parallel appointments in Germany”.