Merkel kicks off Gulf tour in Abu Dhabi: report

24th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived on Monday in Abu Dhabi for the first leg of a four-nation tour of the oil-rich Gulf region, the official WAM news agency reported.

Merkel, who will also visit Bahrain, Qatar and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, was welcomed in the capital of the United Arab Emirates by Economy Minister Sultan bin Said al-Mansuri, the report said.

The German leader is due to meet with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan and his brother Sheikh Mohammed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the richest of the UAE's seven emirates.

She is also due to visit Masdar City, a 22-billion-dollar Abu Dhabi project to build the world's first carbon-neutral city which is scheduled to house 55,000 people when ready in 2015.

Ahead of her visit, Emirati and German officials met on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi with the focus on promoting small and medium enterprises, air transport, the transfer of technology and renewable energy development, WAM said.

The United Arab Emirates, which has the world's fifth largest proven oil reserves at 97.8 billion barrels, is Germany's leading trade partner in the Middle East.

© 2010 AFP

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