Germany’s defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, was in a Saudi Arabia visit to enhance the “excellent bilateral relations” between the two countries, the embassy said.
The visit was also to hold talks with her Saudi counterpart, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aiming to conclude a training deal for Saudi military officers,
“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.
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 in the statement.
Earlier in January, Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD chief who is also vice-chancellor, warned that Berlin could review military exports to Saudi Arabia.
The caution followed Saudi’s mass execution of 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr over preaches he delivered in Saudi Qatif region calling for justice and social reform.
Germany has refrained from selling the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle and other offensive military weapons to Saudi Arabia but has shipped millions of euros worth of so-called defensive military gear.
Exports last year included patrol boats, all-terrain vehicles, aerial refueling equipment, drones and parts for combat aircraft and armoured vehicles, according to the German news agency DPA, making Saudi Arabia is the world’s third-biggest defence spender.