15:28 GMT +3 hours28 July 2016
Live
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier addresses a news conference after talks with his Belarus counterpart in Berlin on November 18, 2015

Uproar in Germany After FM Announces Plans to Visit Saudi Arabia Festival

© AFP 2016/ TOBIAS SCHWARZ
World
Get short URL
92574212

German MPs lashed out at the country's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier over his plans to attend a cultural festival in Saudi Arabia, according to the German newspaper Die Welt.

A decision by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to attend a cultural festival in Saudi Arabia infuriated German lawmakers, the Die Welt newspaper reported. The festival is due to take place in Janadriyah, about 42 km northeast of the capital Riyadh, in February.

Among those who expressed their dissatisfaction with the move was Norbert Rottgen, chairman of the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

"In light of the mass executions in Saudi Arabia, I believe that [the German FM] taking part in the Janadriyah Festival is irrelevant," Rottgen said.

Rottgen's remarks were echoed by Armin Laschet, Deputy Chairman of the German Christian Democratic Union, who also warned Frank-Walter Steinmeier against visiting Saudi Arabia.

"In light of the recent mass killings and gross human rights violations, the German Foreign Minister should refrain from marking a joyous festival in the desert together with Riyadh authorities," Laschet said.

He added that Daesh militants would have failed to strengthen their position in Syria but for Saudi Arabia's support.

Other politicians from Germany's ruling coalition abstained from directly criticizing Frank-Walter Steinmeier's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, but stressed the necessity of Germany reviewing its policy on Saudi Arabia, according to the Die Welt.

Also voicing his anger over the German FM's plans to attend the Janadriyah Festival was Dietmar Bartsch, executive director of the German left-wing party Die Linke, who said that "the German Foreign Minister going to Saudi Arabia in the current situation is unacceptable."

"The kingdom absolutely irresponsibly escalates what is already a tense situation in the region. The rejection of this trip would the right signal," he said.

The German Foreign Ministry made no comment on the uproar, but the German ambassador in Riyadh confirmed in December 2015 that Frank-Walter Steinmeier is due to visit the Janadriyah Festival near Riyadh, where the German pavilion will for the first time be on display this year.

The execution of 47 people in Saudi Arabia, among them Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sparked a round of furious protests by Shia political and religious leaders culminating in an attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran. This protest action finally resulted in the break-off of diplomatic relations between Iran and a number of countries.

Related:
New Best Friend? Saudi Arabia Wants to Improve Relations With Russia
Keep Calm: Saudi Arabia Rules Out War With Iran
'Heavy Burden': Saudi Arabia Is Damaging US Interests
Why Saudi Arabia Could Lose Billions After Breaking Off Ties With Iran
Tags:
lawmakers, militants, festival, parliament, human rights, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany, Saudi Arabia
Community standardsDiscussion
Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
  • Сomment

All comments

Show new comments (0)
Top stories