Source: The Local
The German Defence Minister was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday aiming to conclude a training deal for Saudi military officers, eliciting sharp criticism from German left-leaning parties.Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen held talks with her Saudi counterpart, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on boosting the “excellent bilateral relations” between the two countries, the German embassy said.
“In addition to that, the visit aims to finalise the talks on enhanced cooperation in the training sector. Beginning from next year, the German Defence College will host several young officers and staff from the Saudi military,” the embassy said in a statement.Von der Leyen is the latest German official to visit Saudi Arabia this year, reflecting “a period of intensified exchange” between the two states, ambassador Dieter Haller said.
But German opposition parties were quick to condemn the training deal. “Since the Saudi Arabians support Islamists and jihadists, they cannot at the same time also combat these things, and care about stability and peace in the Middle East,” said Die Linke (Left Party) defence expert Alexander Neu.