On October 3, we commemorate the 31st German National Day. For Germans, this day commemorates the end of a division spanning more than four decades. Today we celebrate the peaceful reunification of our country in the midst of a united Europe.
If we think back to 30 years ago, no one in Germany, in Europe or in the world imagined or expected the reunification of Germany. No one was prepared for such a dramatic event in the heart of Europe. And yet, on November 9, 1989, the people of East Germany demolished the wall that had divided Germany. Not a single shot was fired. The incredible has happened. Peacefully!
The fall of the Berlin Wall, which had divided Germany and Europe for 40 years, was followed by the signing of the Two Plus Four Agreement in September 1990. This paved the way for the official reunification of the two states. Germans on October 3 that year. It was achieved by people’s calls for change on the one hand, and diplomatic negotiations on the other. It is thanks to the trust and support of our neighbors and partners that Germany’s path to fortune has been possible.
This very moving experience was one of the reasons I became a diplomat – and a very optimistic person, no matter how difficult the challenges are. For me, the most important lesson from German reunification is: never stop believing in the impossible. In these times of global political, economic and personal challenges, an optimistic outlook is more important than ever.
The song “Wind of Change” by German rock band Scorpions represents a strong and powerful sense of unity and created the spirit in Germany for a peaceful transition. It hasn’t always been easy. The process of securing political, social and economic reunification, and bringing together the two sides of a long-divided people, has brought about challenges that persist to this day.
Today we know: Times of change can be positive opportunities. This is why I am particularly happy to become the new German Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in these times of economic and social change. Germany will be a reliable partner on this path of transformation.
The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Germany rests on very solid foundations. We have nearly 100 years of experience in our bilateral relations. As G20 member states, we work closely together in several areas, including economics and politics. We share common political interests, such as peace, stability and prosperity, and the fight against terrorism.
Saudi Arabia has faced the COVID-19 pandemic in an exemplary manner. I look forward to taking our bilateral relationship to the next level now that vaccinations will allow more face to face interactions.
German-Saudi economic relations are a very important pillar of our cooperation. More than 800 German companies operate in the Kingdom and support the diversification of the Saudi economy, in particular in the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030 goals. Germany is one of the five main trading partners of the Kingdom.
GESALO, the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs in the Kingdom, is a key partner of the German Embassy. It accelerates economic cooperation by supporting German companies wishing to enter the Saudi market and helping them find business opportunities.
For us Germans, the Saudis are not only very good business partners, they are also good friends.
Ambassador Dieter LamlÃ©
An important step in our close cooperation was the signing in March of this year of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of green hydrogen. Global warming is one of the greatest long-term perils facing humanity, and our two countries are working closely together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help diversify Saudi industry.
For us Germans, the Saudis are not only very good business partners, they are also good friends. This is why cultural relations constitute another essential pillar of our cooperation. I welcome the fact that culture is at the very heart of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans.
Although cultural exchanges have been particularly difficult during the pandemic, the number and diversity of projects jointly undertaken at this time is a testament to our long-standing friendship. Saudi artists participate in German art residency programs and exhibit their work in German galleries. German artists will participate in the Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium, the Biennale and the upcoming MDL Beast music festival.
We are also happy to support young emerging Saudi painters in their efforts to turn their talents into a profession by promoting them on our social networks. And we are planning other upcoming events: concerts with German and Saudi artists, cooperation with German museums and the activities of the German Archaeological Institute in Saudi Arabia.
In the field of education, a shining example of German-Saudi cooperation can be found in the specialized medical training of Saudi doctors at the prestigious Charite Hospital in Berlin. The program entered its seventh year in September 2021. Meanwhile, the Goethe-Institut has a record number of students studying the German language and is just starting its cultural program.
And as the home country ambassador of renowned football clubs such as FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, I am especially proud that Monika Staab from Germany is the first coach of the Saudi Arabian women’s national football team. .
â¢ Dieter LamlÃ© is the German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.