First German Chancellor in Kuwait
Chancellor Schröder in Kuwait
On Monday afternoon (February 28) Chancellor Gerhard Schröder took part in the dedication of the final phase of a gas turbine power plant built by Siemens in Kuwait. After being present at the signing of a number of trade agreements he witnessed the launch of a new Arab-language service on 'Deutsche Welle' television.
Gerhard Schröder is the first German Chancellor ever to visit Kuwait. The country has more than eight percent of the world's oil reserves as well as significant natural gas deposits. Speaking at a dedication ceremony for the final phase of the Az Zour II gas turbine power plant, Schröder referred to this instance of diversification in the electricity generation sector as an expression of the Kuwaiti government's forward-looking energy and industrial policy.
The plant's eight German-made gas turbines have a total output 1000 megawatts, about a tenth of Kuwait's overall requirement. Schröder noted that the new plant is a good example of joint German-Kuwaiti projects in the field of technology and called for a further strengthening of economic and technical cooperation between the two countries.
In an ensuing press conference he referred to the current level of oil prices as a cause of concern for Germany. "At present we are not yet seeing any negative effects on our exports. But we are very concerned by the increase that has taken place thus far and hope that the oil-producing countries - Kuwait is a good example - will do everything they can not to limit production but rather, to the extent possible, expand it, since this would have a positive effect on oil prices," Schröder said.
In the evening Schröder met with the
Kuwaiti Prime Minister, followed by the signing of a number
of agreements, including one on the establishment of a
German-Kuwaiti trade commission. He also witnessed the
launch of a new Arab-language service on 'Deutsche Welle'
Further stops: Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, and the Emirates
Chancellor Schröder will continue on to Qatar on Wednesday (March 2). Aside from meetings with government leaders, his tour is strongly focused on expanding economic cooperation with the countries of the region.
Germany's trade relations with the countries of the Gulf region have shown dynamic growth in recent years. A number of intergovernmental and commercial agreements have been scheduled for signing in the framework of these visits.